Atanas Bozdarov
The Rebirth of Tragedy

From 6 September to 24 October, artist Atanas Bozdarov brings a little sophistication to the Audio Out series as he takes us from Punk Rock to Classical. Whether it’s distilling passages of Nietzsche into a musical score or finding rhythm in Bobby Fischer and Donald Byrne’s [chess] “Game of the Century,” The Rebirth of Tragedy features four works developed using various procedures to extract and assign musical notes from non-musical sources. All the compositions were translated and played on double bass by Stephen Kreuger.

Excerpts from the liner notes:
How would someone with no musical abilities compose a symphony?
Fascinated with this question, Atanas Bozdarov began to develop different ways of assigning music notes to a series of random procedures. These random procedures determined the final outcome of the score. The concern here is to deconstruct the structure of sheet music, and to create a score not as a musician, but as an artist. Once created, the compositions were translated and played by Stephen Kreuger on double bass.

The Birth of Tragedy
The Birth of Tragedy out of the Spirit of Music (1872) is a nineteenth-century work of dramatic theory by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. According to Nietzsche, before the tragedy, there was an era of static, idealized plastic art in the form of sculpture that represented the Apollonian view of the world. The Dionysian element was to be found in the wild revelry of festivals and drunkenness, but, most importantly, in music. The combination of these elements in one art form gave birth to tragedy.
The Score:
This score was created by first choosing three passages from Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy. Each passage was specifically chosen to represent a movement in the score. Once selected, the letters not represented in music notation were deleted (the word ‘art’ for example, would only have the letter ‘a’ remaining). Once all the musical letters were separated from the text, they were given to the musician to play. The player had creative freedom to choose how to play the score.

The Game of the Century
The game of the Century usually refers to a chess game played between Donald Byrne and 13-year old Bobby Fischer in the Rosenwald Memorial Tournament in New York City on October 17, 1956. It was nicknamed “The Game of the Century” by Hans Kmoch in Chess Review.
The Score:
This score was created by using the chess moves during this famous game. Every time a piece landed on a spot on the chessboard, it was recorded with a dot. Once all the moves were recorded, a legend was created assigning musical notes to the dots. The chessboard itself is already set up with an alpha grid running from A to H. Once the notes were assigned it was a just a matter of the musician playing the score. Although there is only one game, two different scores were created by alternating the notes in the legend.

Beethoven’s Butcher
The Score:
For this score, the composer used existing works of music and altered their structure to create something new. This particular piece uses Beethoven’s Sonatas for the Piano as the source. Sections of the sonata were chopped up into different sized pieces. The pieces were placed in a box and then, one-by-one, the pieces were pulled out. Each new piece was placed on the music sheet in order of their draw.

The Triumph of Death: Requim for Atanas Taso Bozdarov
Dies Irae (Day of Wrath) is a famous thirteenth century Latin hymn thought to be written by Thomas of Celano. It is a medieval Latin poem, differing from classical Latin by its accentual (non-quantitative) stress and its rhymed lines. The meter is trochaic. The poem describe the day of judgment, the last trumpet summoning souls before the throne of God, where the saved will be delivered and the unsaved cast into eternal flames.
The Score:
Once again, the removal of letters not found in a musical score creates this composition. The text used in this score is the Latin version of Dies Irae. There were no instructions given to the player for this piece, other than to play as if it were really the composer’s requiem.

Atanas Bozdarov is an artist and designer. He has exhibited his work at the Art Gallery of Peel, Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, AGYU, Blackwood Gallery, XPACE, Art Gallery of Mississauga, Whitney Gallery, and as part of Wade a series of interventions co-presented by YYZ Artists’ Outlet. He was also co-curator, with Tejpal S. Ajji, of the exhibition Heritage Complex at the Art Gallery of Peel.