Márcio Steuernagel

Unvollkommen.e.s Spiele.n // Imperfectly Play

composer, conductor l compositional/music theory, aesthetics & Platypus Ensemble

Ideas about perfection have played and continue to play a strong role in Western concert music tradition. Everyday music making is filled with teachers asking for perfect pitch, performers looking for a perfect interpretation, composers and conductors requiring performers to play "exactly what is written" in the score. But if one stops to reflect, it is quite easy to come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as perfection. There is no such thing as perfect tuning. The value of interpretation lies precisely in the multiplicity of the sonic worlds that can emerge from a single score. And the score is not the music, but simply a generalization of musical ideas that cannot be completely dominated and notated: the performance of these symbols is always different from the score, richer than the score. Every performing musician is aware of the presence of imperfection in any performance. Furthermore, the presence of imperfection may be something we value as beautiful, as adding humanity to a given sound or music. Only the imperfect is unique. So what if the presence of imperfection was accepted as a gift, featured at the centre of musical creation – what if we "composed and performed with" instead of "composed and performing" in spite of" imperfection? This question is the centre of the concert Unvollkommen.e.s Spiele.n // Imperfectly Play. In it, conductor and composer Márcio Steuernagel leads the Platypus Ensemble in addressing the question of imperfection in music in all the aspects of musical creation, i.e., in composition, in conducting, and in performance. The concert includes the première of Ändern, composed by Steuernagel especially for the occasion, exploring directly musical imperfection. But the concert also explores this aspect in other composers, including works from the tradition of the late XXth Century, contemporary composers who also touch on this topic, and even music from pre-modern repertoire that deals, in one way or another, with imperfection in music. In doing so, Unvollkommen.e.s Spiel.e.n // Imperfectly Play invites us to listen to the richness and uniqueness of musical imperfection, an aspect of concert music which has been historically undervalued. Yet, musical imperfection has a legitimate role to play in concert music, bringing its own unique rewards. This concert will have a second performance in Vienna Monday, 12. April 2021, at the Reaktor (Geblergasse 40 | 1170 Vienna).


Márcio Steuernagel – conductor & director

Platypus Ensemble

Kaoko Amano – Soprano

Iva Kovač  – Flute

Anna Koch – Clarinet

Marianna Oczkowska ­– Violin

Anđela Sibinović – Viola

Stefanie Prenn ­– Violoncello

Jaime Wolfson – Piano


Jaime Wolfson – main conductor

Berthold Cvach – team

Helena Telen – producer



György Kurtág, Signs, Games and Messages: for string trio (1989–2005)

  1. Virág az ember, Mijakónak

Guillaume Machaut, Fragment from La messe de Nostre Dame (c.1365)

Misnotation & Misinterpretation: Márcio Steuernagel (2020)

György Kurtág, Hommage à R. Sch  2. E.: der begrentzte kreis

Mark Andre, asche (2004/2014)

György Kurtág, Kafka fragmente, I.15 Zwei Spaziertsöcke

György Kurtág, Signs… 6. Jelek VI

György Kurtág, Kafka fragmente, IV.6 In Memoriam Joannis..

Márcio Steuernagel, DE PROFUNDIS super DE PROFUNDIS (2016/ver.2020) *première of new version

György Kurtág, Kafka fragmente, I.5 Berceuse I

Graciela Paraskevaidis, libres en el sonido presos en el sonido (1997)

György Kurtág, Signs… 7. A Very Slow Waltz…

Márcio Steuernagel, Ändern (2021) *première

György Kurtág, Kafka fragmente, III.9 Verstecke (Double)

Salvatore Sciarrino, Centauro Marino (1984/89)

György Kurtág, Signs… 5. Virág – Zsigmondy Dénesnek …

Monteverdi, Lamento dela Ninfa (1638)

Misedition & Misinterpretation: Márcio Steuernagel (2020)

György Kurtág, Signs… 4. Ligatura Y

György Kurtág, Kafka fragmente, III.6 Der Begrentzte Kreis

José-Maria Sanchez-Verdú, Machaut-Architektur II (2004)

György Kurtág, Hommage à R. Sch  6. Abschied (Meister Raro entdeckt Guillaume de Machaut)

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