ensemble

 

-2016-

Beyond the Quintessential Quincunx
Instrumentation: bass clarinet, violin, acoustic guitar, sound objects
Premiere: 31 Mars 2016, Århus; Curious Chamber Players (Dries Tack, Karin Hellqvist, Frederik Munk Larsen, Rei Munakata)
Duration: approximately 6 minutes

Recording:

2015-16

drifting – part 2 of Cycle IV from “synthetic fragments
Instrumentation: percussion, alto-flute, optional live electronics
Premiere: 26 February 2016, Barcelona; Duo Arà (A. Rombolá, N. Andorrà)+ Henrik Denerin
Duration: variable (12-15 minutes suggested)

-2015-

monade (diskontinuierliche Endlichkeit)
for trio
Instrumentation: clarinet in A, cello, piano
Premiere: 10 january 2016, Paris; Ensemble Aleph (Dominique Clément, Christophe Roy, Sylvie Drouin)
Duration: approx. 10 minutes
Commissioned by: Ensemble Aleph
Score: Contact the composer

Program note:
Monad (from Greek μονάς monas, “unit” in turn from μόνος monos, “alone”)

The monad, the word and the idea, belongs to the western philosophical tradition and has been used by various authors, most famously by Leibniz that designates the monad as metaphysical point (without extension) in which the entire universe is reflected.

Monads are manifest, they are everywhere, and there is no extension without monads. They are, then, the plenum, that is to say, the condition of an infinitely dense universe, but nevertheless they are unextended. However, this doesn’t mean that they lack of any function (as far as they project and reflect force), matter (since they come with it) or that they are extended (considering that they don’t interact with anything in the world).

The ‘intensive infinity’ within the monad is in excess of any concept. Monadic fullness is dizzying, ‘confused.’ The infinity within the monad is infinitely analyzable, which means that it cannot be captured by a finite consciousness, but is lost for intentionality. Nonetheless, this loss is not an abstract negation of knowledge, since the monad has all the complex determinacy of an intensive gathering of relations.

The ‘pregnant’ fullness of the monad intends no mythic re-enchantment of nature. On the contrary, it definitively secularizes temporality, and shows how the modern notion of progress reintroduces the Christian via recta into the representation of time.
Walter Benjamin’s monad is simultaneously packed with all of its predicates – past, present, and future. Benjamin describes the intensive infinity within the monad as its absorption of all of its ‘virtual history’ (both becoming and passing away) in a pre-stabilized essence. We become aware of the infinite complexity in our perceptions by intensifying our attention to what is already implicit in our representations.

monade (diskontinuierliche Endlichkeit) – Oscillation measures the failure of a limit to exist.

Recording:

-2015-

verzeitlichung
for ensemble 
Instrumentation: clarinet (Bb/bass), piano, violin, viola, cello
Premiere: 23 April 2015, Fabra i Coats, Barcelona (Spain); Ensemble Recherche
Duration: approx. 11 minutes
Commissioned by: Mixtur Festival for Ensemble Recherche
Score: Contact the composer

Program note:
Perhaps it is first in the interpretation process that an artwork unfolds to what it is interpreted as. Interpretandum is thus not something instantly given but grows from esthetic experience and critical reflection – it is both the result of and the object of the study. Also in a temporal respect, mediation between production and interpretation is crucial: the artwork is produced not in its contemporary history (the past), but its time (the present) in the artwork. This temporalization (verzeitlichung) of the artwork during the process of composition transforms its interior into a “micro eon”. The interpretation crystallizes the work to a structure.

score excerpt page 1-2

Recording:

-2015-

seals I – part 1 of Cycle III from synthetic fragments
for violin solo & ensemble 
Instrumentation: violin solo, english horn, Eb clarinet, piano, soprano, cello
Duration: approx. 2 minutes
Premiere: 21 June 2015, Koninklijk Conservatorium Brussel;
Veerle Houbraken – soloviolin & Odysseia Ensemble conducted by Bart Bouckaert

Program note:
The title of this work, seals, comes from the Italian philosopher, mathematician, poet, Dominican friar and astrologer Giordano Bruno (1548 – 1600). Although not widely recognized he is celebrated for his cosmological theories, which went even further than the then-novel Copernican model. Bruno also correctly proposed that the Sun was just another star moving in space, and claimed as well that the universe contained an infinite number of inhabited worlds, identified as planets orbiting other stars. Because of his, at the time, radical thinking (including supporting Galileo Galilei) Bruno was forced to leave Italy in 1576, first to France and later to England and Germany. In 1591, in a time when the Inquisition seemed to be losing some of its impetus, and Venice seemed especially safe as it was the most liberal state in Italy; therefore Bruno was lulled into making the fatal mistake of returning to Italy. In 1592 he was arrested by the Venetian Inquisition, sent to Rome and charged of blasphemy and heresy. After 7 years of trial the Inquisition found him guilty, and in 1600 Bruno was burned at stake in Rome’s Campo de’ Fiori. Bruno’s case is still considered a landmark in the history of free thought and the future of the emerging sciences.

In addition to his cosmological writings, Bruno also wrote extensively on the art of memory, a loosely organized group of mnemonic techniques and principles and it is these writings that the title of my piece refer to. Early in 1583, soon after his arrival in England, Bruno published the massive volume on memory which is referred to as Seals, though it really consists of four items, as follows:


     Ars reminiscendi
     Triginta sigilli
     Explanatio triginta sigillorum
     Sigillus sigillorum


So, 30 seals (Triginta sigilli) and the seal of seals (Sigillus sigillorum). What then are these seals? The art of mnemonics tradition, e.g. Fra Agostino del Riccio’s work Arte delle memoria locale (unpublished, but the manuscript exists in the Biblioteca Nazionale in Florence) uses the idea of presenting the principles and various techniques of the art through little symbolic pictures, with titles. This is exactly what the Seals are, statements of the principles and techniques of the art – but, magicised, complicated with Lullism and Cabbalism, blown up into inscrutable mysteries.

The seals are not confined to any one system. On the contrary Bruno states that he is trying every possible way; perhaps something for which he is not looking may emerge out of this, as alchemists who do not succeed in making gold sometimes hit on other important discoveries. In the later Seals he is trying variations of astrological arrangements, devices of a Lullist nature (or what he supposes to be Lullist), infiltrations of Cabalist magic in the unending search for a really operative organisation of the psyche. And the search always brings in the tricks of the memory trade, the old techniques of which can be recognised in Seal after Seal, though now presented as occult mysteries.
If we drop the word ‘magical’ and think of the efforts of an occult memory artist as directed towards drawing out of the psyhe combinations of ‘archetypal’ images we come within range of some major trends of modern psychological thought.

There is something, to my mind, profound in the Seals, as though in its inner moulding of significant memory statues, this drawing out of tremendous forms by subtraction of the inessential, Giordano Bruno, the memory artist, were introducing us to the core of the creative act, the inner act which precedes the outer expression.

The work seals I is one of eleven works for solo instruments which form cycle III of “synthetic fragments”.

score excerpt page 3-4

Recording:

2014

Rhizom
for ensemble 
Instrumentation: flute (C/alto/piccolo), soprano saxophone, percussion, piano, cello
Premiere: 30 November 2014, La Caja, Vigo (Spain); Vertixe Sonora Ensemble
Duration: approx. 15 minutes
Commissioned by: Vertixe Sonora Ensemble
Score: Contact the composer

Program note:
“A rhizome has no beginning or end; it is always in the middle, between things, interbeing, intermezzo. The tree is filiation, but the rhizome is alliance, uniquely alliance. The tree imposes the verb “to be,” but the fabric of the rhizome is the conjunction, “and. . . and.. . and. . .”
So far Deleuze. Subterranean passages of thought: that is what Deleuze and Guttari call a RHIZOME. It tests the intelligent capacity for finding beginnings. A labyrinth without beginning or end: “A non-hierarchic structure of concepts that propagates in all directions and invites to multiplicity.“
When I a few years ago read their book “A Thousand Plateaus” (“Mille plateaux”) I did it enthusiastically even though I may not have completely understood all of the ideas (some are even still quite difficult to understand). But at least some thought images have had a lasting impression. When I started this work I came to think about how their philosophical concept “Rhizome” has gradually become a way for me to think about structures in musical composition (form) and how these structures can communicate itself to listeners.
Rhizom is based on a “predefined book” of rhythmical structures, harmonic progressions and instrumental combinations. In order to try to adhere to the conception of Rhizome it is composed in a non-linear fashion.

score excerpt page 22

Recording of the premiere with Vertixe Sonora Ensemble

2014

Das Ende eines Wintermärchens – part III of Cycle I from synthetic fragments
for ensemble 
Instrumentation: Bb clarinet, percussion, piano, violin, viola, ‘cello, contrabass
Premiere: April 13, 2014 – Ensemble Aleph in Fontevraud Abbey, France
Duration: 6 minutes
Commissioned by: Ensemble Aleph
Score: Contact the composer

Program note:
Das Ende eines Wintermärchens (The End of a Winter’s Tale) takes its title from the third part of
Hans-Jürgen Sybergergs mega-film “ein Film aus Deutschland” (1977).The film that has no clear plot
or chronology , instead, each part explores one particular topic with the third part exploring the
holocaust and the ideology behind it.

Rather than devise a spectacle in the past tense, by attempting to simulate unrepeatable reality or
showing a photographic document, this is a sort of spectacle in the present tense – “adventures in
the head”. Reality can only be grasped indirectly – seen reflected in a mirror, staged in the theater of
the mind.

The music should however not be misinterpreted as crudely illustrative, some (more or less) musical
(symbolic) references are made; like beginning and closing all parts with a silent lonely child, an ironic
mock of the complexity of the subject presented as something simple and also evoking symbolism of
melancholy which musically is referred to by the, seemingly simple, beginning and ending on one
note (G and E respectively). This also acts as a dramatic form of the piece, building an arc from
simplicity – complexity – simplicity in its use of material.

Maybe this music could be viewed upon as “abstract storytelling”, having no real “plot” but
constantly shifting its focus with different gestures, states, and reflections and so on. As said above,
there is a certain dramatic form with a building of material starting with roughly-accented contrabass
harmonics, culminating with the strings + clarinet playing ordered, layered, almost mechanical music
(with each instrument “going through” the 24 quartertones of an octave in its own sequence and
with very exactly defined crescendos and diminuendos), eventually differentiating into more complex
and tangled textures. The music now tries to focus, with a decrease of the harmonic and melodic
material but is once again drawn to a scale using all 24 quartertones in the octave, but this time used
as harmonic material with crescendos, becoming ever shorter and louder. A shift of focus utilizing
multiple gestures and states (like looking at the material at different perspectives) the music finally
stabilize more and more until a single E in violin Is left… seemingly simple but constantly fluctuating
in its inner structure.

Das Ende eines Wintermärchens is the third part in cycle I from the work “synthetic fragments” where cycle I consists of 4 parts, all named after the parts
from Syberbergs film; I – Der gral, II – Ein deutcher traum, III – Das Ende eines Wintermärchens, IV – Wir Kinder der Hölle; A grail, a dream, a tail. Hell.
Dealing with the fascination of Nazism/Fascism, once again starting to grow in the western world, the work itself is truly an antithesis of a Nazi “artwork”; trying to be individual, complex, multidimensional and invite to reflection it would
probably be proscribed as “decadent art”. (“[…], it is the music of the born-again modalists that
wears the jackboots.” – R. Toop, On Complexity).

Recording by Ensemble Aleph

2014

empty space – part 1 of Cycle IV from “synthetic fragments
texts and material examples for structured improvisation 
Instrumentation: percussion, contrabass, (optional live electronics)
Premiere: May 5, 2014 – Núria Andorrà, Johannes Nästesjö
Duration: variable

Recording:

2013

Im Denken unterwegs…
for 1 female flutist and 2 female pianists 
Instrumentation: flute (with ad lib small percussion, piano 1 (with ad lib small percussion,
piano 2 (also 3 temple blocks and 2 crotales (c and c#)
note – all performers should be female
Premiere: to be announced
Duration: approx. 15.5 minutes
Commissioned by: Leomakku Corporation for Ensemble Hakata
Score: Contact the composer

Program note:
Im gemeinen Leben kommen wir mit der Sprache notdürftig fort, weil wir nur oberflächliche Verhältnisse bezeichnen. Sobald von tiefern Verhältnissen die Rede ist, tritt sogleich eine andre Sprache ein, die poetische.
[Göthe]

We write only at the frontmost edge of our knowledge, at the boundary which seperates knowing from unknowing and allows the one to change into the other.
[Gilles Deleuze]

score excerpt page 12-17

2009

mnēmoneuein
quartet 
Subtitle: Six Tones version
Instrumentation: trio (dan tranh, dan bau, dan ty ba)+ computer(live-electronics)
Premiere: 28 Mars 2009; Nybrokajen 11, Stockholm/SwedenSix Tones – Thanh Thuy, Ngo Tra My, Stefan Östersjö, Henrik Frisk

Program note:
mnēmoneuein (prin khronisthēnai)
the act to remember (takes place when time has passed)

This piece is about memory. Memory as recollection, as trace; memory that reviews – memory that repeats. Two extreme forms of memory, each regarded in their pure state, but also as a transitory form, as a compound phenomenon that emanates from their amalgamation. A transition from the virtual to the actual.

But also about imagination and the border line between them. A concealed object that is brought forth by the act of remembering and by imagination.

Video below is from Atalante in Gothenburg/Sweden 2009-04-01

Recording from Babel in Malmö/Sweden 2009:

full score

2007

Scritto x1
for ensemble 
Instrumentation: cl, pno, vln, vlc
Premiere: 2007-05-14; Acadamy of Music in Malmö, Sweden
Jonas Losciale – clarinet, Fredrick Haglund – piano,Alexandra Hjortswang – violin, Gustav Ölmedal – cello
Duration: ca 7′

Program note:
This piece is mainly about perception, walking through three perceptive categories: the active – the medial – the passive. The path over which the approach is made could obviously be many and here I attempt to suggest a number of possibilities. In attempting to try to do something which could (platitudinously) be termed “clearly musical” one has to find a material that can both be a flickering interplay of surface gestures and sink below the surface. This web tries to be constantly mobile – always moving towards the center.

2006 – revised 2012

Alcheringa
for string orchestra 
Instrumentation: String orchestra (9 vln, 3 vla, 2 vlc, 1 cb)
Premiere: 2006-12-01; Concert Hall, Växjö/SwedenMusica Vitae/Michael Bartosch
Duration: ca 9′
Program note:
Alcheringa is the term for the creation of the world as perceived by the Aborigines. This concept can be explained as an extra dimension of life, a dimension that has part in time, room and humans personality. Alcheringa is all that we in other religions denotes as divine. The form is a sort of mirror with two gestures spreading out through the piece. The gestures is composed as a micro-polyphony, and thus becomes both still and mobile at the same time. Small “alien objects” are inserted acting as pre-echoes to the rest of the cycle.
Comment:
Under Heaven is a cycle consisting of 7 parts, each for different kinds of ensembles. They are all composed of the same material and using similar ways of forming. This, however, does not mean that they don’t have a personality but only belong to different cultures – different ways of growing.

full score (2012 version)