Ablinger, Peter (1960--) By Cassidy, Aaron
Peter Ablinger has arguably done more to challenge what we mean by “music” than any composer since John Cage. His works include Sehen und Hören (1994–2003), a series of abstract photographs that Ablinger refers to as “Music Without Sounds,” Parker Notch (2010) for solo instrument and noise, in which an instrumentalist plays a blisteringly fast transcription of a Charlie Parker solo which is completely obliterated by a thick, dense stream of noise occupying the rest of the audio spectrum, rendering the instrumentalist’s sounds more or less inaudible; and Weiss/Weisslich 36, Kopfhörer (1999), in which the listener dons headphones that have a microphone attached, through which she hears what the microphone picks up in real time (as Ablinger writes, “The same is not the same. There is a difference. At least the difference between just being here and: listening. That difference is the piece.” In the various Sitzen Und Hören or Stühle pieces, rows of chairs are set up in various indoor and outdoor locales around the world, in which ‘not the sound, but the listening is the piece.’ The Landschaftsoper Ulrichsberg [Landscape Opera] (2009) in seven acts, Act 1 of which consists of planting rows of trees “according to acoustic criterias [sic] as, e.g., colour and intensity of noise, version”; or Quadraturen III (‘Wirklichkeit’), in which various recordings (of speech, street noise, etc.) are transcribed and reproduced with surprising verisimilitude through a computer-controlled player piano.