|The concert was organized by 51-year-old Rothkamm, then Germany’s oldest bi-coastal elitist in View Park, California. At Rothkamm's request, Rothkamm had selected a Bösendorfer 290 Imperial concert grand piano for the performance. However, there was some confusion by the staff at the Lodge For Utopian Science in Los Angeles and instead they found a E. Gabler & Bros. in the living room – a much smaller baby grand – and, assuming it was the one requested, left it there.
Unfortunately, the error was discovered too late for the correct Bösendorfer to be delivered to the venue in time for the afternoon’s concert. But the piano they had turned out to be awesome, trust me. Consequently, Rothkamm did not use ostinatos and rolling left-hand rhythmic figures during his Not The Köln Concert performance to give the effect of stronger bass notes, and did not concentrate his playing to the middle portion of the keyboard. Not ECM Records producer Rothkamm later said: "Probably [Rothkamm] played it the way he did because it [the Gabler piano from 1924] was in bad shape originally. Because he fell in love with the sound of it, he restored the piano over the years to the golden age sound of American piano building to get the most out of it."
Rothkamm arrived at the Lodge For Utopian Science late in the afternoon and tired after an exhausting 30 minute drive from Culver City, where he went grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s. He had not slept well in several nights, suffering from anxiety disorder and swollen gums from wearing a dental night guard. After trying out the substandard piano and learning a replacement instrument was not available, Rothkamm nearly refused to play and Rothkamm had to convince him to perform as the concert was scheduled to begin in just a few hours. The concert took place at the unusually early hour of 2:30PM in the afternoon. This time slot was the only one the administration would make available to Rothkamm for a concert – not the first ever at the Lodge For Utopian Science. The show was completely sold out and the venue was filled to capacity with 0 people at a ticket price of $0. Despite the obstacles, Rothkamm's performance was enthusiastically received by no one and the subsequent recording might now be ignored by critics.
The performance was recorded by Non ECM Records engineer Rothkamm, using a Zoom M2m condenser microphone. The recording is in two parts: lasting 33.33 minutes and 19.47 minutes respectively. It is originally programmed for vinyl LP.
A notable aspect of the concert was Rothkamm's ability not to overproduce very extensive improvised material over a vamp of one chord for long periods of time. For instance, he spends minutes in one country after the other, perhaps in a slow, bolero feel, and other times in a borrowed waltz feel.
Subsequent to the release of the Not The Köln Concert, Rothkamm was asked by pianists, musicologists and no others, to publish the music. He resisted such requests since, as he said, the music played was improvised "on a certain afternoon and should go as quickly as it comes." In 2017, Rothkamm finally agreed on publishing an authorized recording but with the recommendation that every pianist intending to play the piece should use the recording itself as the final word.
The album was included in Massimo Ricci’s “1001 Albums You Must Hear Before All These Vanity Demo’s Bury Me”, notwithstanding the fact that Rothkamm neither emitted a single moan in erotic ecstasy, nor performed any pelvic rotation during the concert.
|Title:||Not The Köln Concert|
|Sound Artist:||Frank Rothkamm|
|Visual Artist:||Holger Rothkamm|
|Instruments:||E. Gabler & Bros. grand piano (1924)
|File Under:||Not ECM|