percussion

 

2020

Fernangekommen/Hinweggegangen/Fernglänzend
for percussion with live-electronics
Instrumentation: vibraphone, 16 objects (3 wood, 2 glass, 5 metal, 2 stone, 2 ceramic and 2 skin, 4 glass marbles (2x5cm and 2x10cm in diameter) & 2 loose metal snares, live-electronics (max-patch), at least 2 speakers.
All instruments should be amplified (vibraphone in stereo and connected to computer running the max-patch, objects with 16 contact michrophones.)
Duration: approximately 22 minutes
Written for: Tom de Cock

2019

BES
for percussion with electronics
Instrumentation: percussion
Duration: approximately 29 minutes
Commissioned by: Tom de Cock with support from Konstnärsnämnden and Helge Ax:son Johnsons stiftelse

2018

Ein deutscher Traum – part II of Cycle I from synthetic fragments
for ensemble 
Instrumentation: flute, clarinet (Bb and Bass), percussion, piano, violin, viola, cello
Premiere: Mars 27, 2019 – Norrbotten Neo in Luleå, Sweden
Duration: approximately 10 minutes
Commissioned by: Norrbottensmusiken
Score: Buy score at BabelScores!

Program note:
Ein deutscher Traum (A German dream) takes its title from the second part of Hans-Jürgen Sybergergs mega-film “Hitler – ein Film aus Deutschland” (1977).The film has no clear plot or chronology, instead, each part explores one particular topic with the second part focusing on the pre-Nazi German cultural, spiritual and national heritage that the Nazi propaganda related to.

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. A fiction without being a narrative and a document without claiming objectivity for it: a hybrid form without respectable parentage? But in contrast to the lavish DeMille-like décors that Wagner projected for his tetralogy, Syberberg’s film is a cheap fantasy.
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. 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.

Ein deutscher Traum is the second part in cycle I (from the large work “synthetic fragments”) consisting of 4 parts named after Syberbergs film; I – Der Gral, II – Ein deutscher Traum, III – Das Ende eines Wintermärchens, IV – Wir Kinder der Hölle;

A grail, a dream, a tale.
Hell.

2017-18

OPUS INCERTUM
for trombone and percussion
Instrumentation: trombone, percussion (xylophone, crotales, 3 skin instruments, prepared tenordrum, pedal bass drum, 7 metal objects, seed pod chimes, sleigh bells (or similar e.g. Kagura suzu 神楽鈴), 3 temple blocks, prepared log drum, sandblock and 3 pair of resonant instruments e.g. glass bowls, gongs, cow bells, etc.)
Premiere: 15 September 2019, Gothenburg; Ivo Nilsson-trombone, Jonny Axelsson-percussion
Duration: approx. 25 minutes
Review (DN, in Swedish): Click to read review on DN
Score: Buy score at BabelScores!

Program note:
OPUS INCERTUM

The Latin title has a dual meaning: uncertain (art)work and a term for a Roman masonry where the wall consists of irregularly placed stones of different sizes and materials.

The piece can be divided into 9 “blocks” of material placed next to each other. Parts of these blocks are clearly linear and through the progress of the piece gradually reveal an underlying acceleration. Others are more sublime, fragmentary, atomized, grumbling, private and uncertain: intensely focusing on details.

The different blocks may also be heard as different types of time: “now-time” which is divided ad infinitum into something that has just happened and something that will happen, constantly flying in both directions simultaneously; “cyclic time”, filled with states and movements of objects; “material-bound time”, the temporality of the concrete figure. Sudden changes in structure, perspective and direction.

The work as a transition between solely imperfections.
The fragment attracts and promises something else.
Layers are laid over layers, “strata super strata”.

2015-16

matheme
for double trio
Instrumentation: bass flute, bass clarinet, contrabass, violin, alto trombone, piano
Premiere: 24 october 2016, New York
Duration: approx. 14 minutes
Score: Buy score at BabelScores!

Program note:
The matheme indicates a relationship, where the relationship is problematic, unstable and continuously open to re-negotiation.
Two separated trios playing separate music. The ambiguity of where this music can meet seems to endorse the notion of a ‘transitive’ space – a matheme, creating an invisible third space perhaps.

Recording:

2015-16

mirrors
for trio
Instrumentation: violin, alto trombone, piano
Duration: approx. 13,5 minutes
Score: Contact the composer

-2016-

O ew'ge Nacht
for piano, cello and electronics
Instrumentation: piano, cello and electronics
Premiere: 28 June 2016, Santiago de Compostela; Vertixe Sonora (David Durán, Thomas Piel)
Duration: approx. 19 minutes
Commissioned by: Vertixe Sonora
Score: Buy score at BabelScores!

Program note:
When approach to participate in the project “Sound Correspondences” I was told that the concert was to be related to a collective exhibition of the CGAC. For me the artist involved is María Ruido who presented her work “La memoria interior” for me. While there may be certain connections between our works (construction of memory would be one), what immediately struck me was the very beginning where, in complete darkness, Nur Stille, Stille (from Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte) is heard.
The title of my piece, O ew’ge nacht, is also taken from Die Zauberflöte where it is a short recitative; the topic being that of questions about the afterlife, eternal life, and love.

If the recitative is a Message from Beyond, this music struggles, through the performers (as some kind of deformed Papageno and Pamina figures), trying to ask a question. The effect of struggle is twofold, for while the music itself articulates a search through potential material, the player is faced with notation of great complexity from which a performance must be extrapolated. In this sense, the struggle is not only that of the extreme performance situation, but also one of creating a piece of music of any real significance.
It (tries to) offer a reflexive narrative of how it is to be in the world; it can never hope to be objective or to tell anyone anything new, but nevertheless holds out for the possibility that one might, in the telling, somehow stumble across something of note; musical composition (and, by extension, listening) as an attempt to bring order to a (fictionally) broken down remnant of… what? The distant past? The depths of the subconscious? (The inner Memory?)
When the chorus answers Tamino’s question “O eternal night, when will you disappear? they represent a calling from an afterlife, and they provide two answers: to the question of when he should find light, the dying Mozart receives the response “Soon, soon or never more,” and the syllabic singing of the name “Pa-mi-na” becomes an incantation…

-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-

fluchtlinien-D
for flute and percussion
Instrumentation: flute (with B foot), percussion
Premiere: 26 February 2016, Barcelona; Duo Arà (A. Rombolá, N. Andorrà)
Duration: approx. 8 minutes
Score: Buy score at BabelScores!

Program note:
fluchtlinien-D is fluchtlinien with a structured improvised percussion part.

fluchtlinien – With this concept Deleuze and Guattari points at possible alternatives to the dominating approach. One example is how the music sends out lines of flight (fluchtlinien) when it multiplies and spreads like a diverse weed of sound. Fluchtlininen thus indicates the potential for something different to take shape, for example, the opportunity of re-thinking.
Every form of life – a body, a social group, an organism or even a concept – consists of links and connections. Genes come together to form cells; cells are collected to form tribes. The term ‘human being’ is an example of such an interconnection of reason, a certain type of body (white, male), speech, and so on. But every connection also allows a fluchtlinie; there is always the potential for genetic mutation. The definition of man as rational also enables a dispute about what constitutes humanity: e.g., is it rational to put up a stock of nuclear weapons? Thus, every definition wears, every territorialisationtorium or body, the opportunities that opens up for a fluchtlinie that could turn it into something else.

score excerpt page 1-3

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: Buy score at BabelScores!

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: Buy score at BabelScores!

Recording by Ensemble Aleph

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).

2009/2010

zeit-raum
for piano solo 
Instrumentation: piano solo (with bells and optional electronics)
passage-plateau-with variation Premiere: 2013-10-16; Sibelius Academy Concert Hall, Helsinki, Finland, Mirka Viitala – piano
The time within Premiere: 2009-04-01; Acadamy of Music in Malmö, Sweden, Fredrick Haglund – piano

Program note:
zeit-raum consists of two parts; the time within and passage-plateau-with variation. Preferably the
parts are performed consecutively. It’s also possible to perform each movement individually.

THE TIME WITHIN explores different relations between time (duration – horizontal) and sound complexes (vertical – group formations – chords). It is composed with the help of IRCAM’s open music. I made a set of rules for how the piece should be formed, variations of application of duration to n notes and a initial probability that certain phenomena should appear or not (e.g. how sound complexes should be formed… completely vertical or in group formations, ornaments etc.). I, so to speak, show the direction of the piece to the program whose function is to map out this direction. One thing that became interesting to me, except the result itself, was to observe how a computer went from being a recalcitrant tool (or maybe my reluctance against the computer) to “open up”.

passage – plateau – with variation
An initial musical object; passing through a sort of passage which continuously rotate and transform it. The path over which the approach is made are, in a sense , arbitrary; and could obviously be many, with passage suggesting a number of possibilities; but it tries to be mobile – always moving towards the centre and searching for a material that is both a flickering interplay of surface gestures and trying to sink below the surface. Arriving at a musical ‘plateau’ the focus has shifted; with the material becoming ‘static’, as it were, exploring time domains. Objects which are folded with memories, breaking time. As the time is speeded up, the material starting to rotate, we move towards the passage once again, with new suggestions, a passage variation, trying to move, successfully or not, from the centre towards outer space.

Recording of passage-plateau-with variation:

Recording of THE TIME WITHIN:

score excerpt page 1-3 of respectively The time within and passage-plateau-with variation

2010

passage-plateau-with variation

for piano solo
SEE zeit-raum

2009

The time within

for piano solo
SEE zeit-raum