A Life of Art
The Art of Life
Pencils and stopwatches are dependable companions in Cerha’s life as a composer.
They are the tools for developing and documenting musical ideas.
Foto: Hertha Hurnaus
Friedrich Cerha is known to the world as a composer, and his life as an artist is hardly conceivable without music. However, music isn’t the extent of his creative work. On the contrary: His need for expression is almost boundless, reaching far beyond music alone. For Cerha, pencil and notepaper are natural tools for capturing his aural fantasies: “Composing is like breathing, no special motivation is needed to get it going.”“Friedrich Cerha zum 95en: ‘Komponieren ist wie Atmen’”, https://www.tt.com/artikel/18223978/friedrich-cerha-zum-95er-komponieren-ist-wie-atmen A “need to do, to create”“Die Wurzel allen künstlerischen Tuns ist ja das Bedürfnis zu tun zu formen…” Gundula Wilscher in conversation with Friedrich Cerha, in: Gundula Wilscher (ed.): Vernetztes Werk(en). Facetten des künstlerischen Schaffens von Friedrich Cerha, Innsbruck et. al. 2016, pp. 167–174, here p. 168 has always been the foundation of his creativity. In addition to musical compositions, his artistic intuition has also produced other fruits, such as set designs for music theatre, a language he created just for Netzwerk, existential poems, and visual art pieces such as paintings, collages, and sculptures. “And what one then actually does is drawn from this tremendous reservoir that is carried within oneself—the things that just seem immediate and crucial.”“Die Wurzel allen künstlerischen Tuns ist ja das Bedürfnis zu tun zu formen…” Gundula Wilscher in conversation with Friedrich Cerha, in: Gundula Wilscher (ed.): Vernetztes Werk(en). Facetten des künstlerischen Schaffens von Friedrich Cerha, Innsbruck et. al. 2018, pp. 167–174, here p. 172
In music, Cerha is committed to exploring both sides of the coin: the internal—the composing of his musical concepts—and the external, as a practicing violinist and conductor who has brought more than just his own music to the concert stage. Representative of his generation, he has often found himself particularly interested in the newest, often literally unheard-of music, heeding its call to be brought to life. And just as he has modelled sound, so has he modelled sculptures, forming structures and shapes from stone while retaining the essence of the raw material within. He is a collector of objects that, over the course of the decades, have become elements of his hundreds of paintings. As a painter, Cerha is not satisfied merely with brushes, canvas, and paint. He has expanded the possibilities of the pictorial space into tangible objects—a metaphor for the omnipresent sensuality in his artistic work.