Karlheinz Essl


algorithmic music for computer-controlled carillon

WebernUhrWerk (Margaret Schedel and Alison Rootberg)
in: Contemporary Music Review 28(1), p. 58-59 (2009): Generative Techniques in Hypermedia Peformance

(...) A computer-generated work directly inspired by the generative nature of twelve-tone techniques, WebernUhrWerk by Karlheinz Essl is an open-air sound installation in Mittersill, Switzerland (sic!) created for the sixtieth anniversary of Anton Webern's death. Essl's generative composition is based on the twelve-tone row of Webern's last opus, started in Mittersill before he was shot by an American GI on 15 September 1945. A new piece will be generated every year (sic!); the pitches are subjected to an algorithm that uses the structure of Webern's series as its own permutation program, while the rhythms utilize random procedures and aleatoric methods. In addition to its life as an installation, WebernUhrWerk is distributed as freeware so that individuals can run the program on their own computers (Essl, 2008). With the widespread use of the personal computer, more artists are turning turning towards pieces that users can generate on their own machines. The advantage of generative programs is that a very small piece of software can generate hundreds of hours of unique audio and video, which iof presented as fixed media would take up several thousand gigabytes. (...)

WebernUhrWerk (Dennis Willem)
in: MacMusic - 6 Sep 2006

Like all of Karlheinz's shareware, this is extraordinary. Weird interface, strange nomenclature and completely original. On the web radio station I will someday open (www.robotradio.net) this music and the other Essl soundscapes will be the signature sound. Don't put radio on computers -- put the computers on the radio! Thanks, Karlheinz!

in: MacUpdate - 6 Sep 2006

Having been a devotee of Webern's work for a number of years I consider this to be an admirable homage. Certainly, it would be best experienced via a high quality PA system. Nevertheless, that doesn't deminish the pleasure of listening to the program through desk-mounted speakers.

WebernUhrWerk - pure computer music! (M. Keiser)

So today i downloaded this program WebernUhrWerk for shits and giggles on this here laptop. I enjoy it so far. Its a very simple program, straightforward and limited in what it does (draw parallels here), nonetheless it produces true, authentic computer music derived from webern's last tone row, ad infinitum. I could listen to serialism constantly for days without ever hearing an exact repetition (i know this prospect must really excite all of you). It'd be nice if could enter in my own tone row and see the effects, but still, i gotta admit, its kinda cool, how many times have computers actually created something... uh, artisticky? Though my feelings on seralism are, uhm, mixed, i really do enjoy webern from time to time.

Thanks to Karlheinz Essl for the invention, who actually has an enormous opus of his own compositions available for download on his site, pretty cool stuff, and i think i'll be exploring it for the next few days.

WebernUhrWerk (Xiaolan Longfu)
in: Longistan. Japanese guitarist Ryu's weblog - 6 Jul 2007







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Updated: 9 Sep 2014