winds & brass

 

-2017-19-

fold III – part 9 of Cycle III from synthetic fragments
for oboe and ensemble or oboe solo
Instrumentation: oboe and ensemble (or oboe solo)
Duration: approx. 3 minutes

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”.

2015-17

fluchtlinien-E
for flute, spatialised electroacoustic sound and live electronics
Instrumentation: flute (with B foot), electronics
Premiere: 8 July 2018, Tokyo; Kazuko Ihara-flute, Denerin-electronics
Duration: approx. 8 minutes
Score: Buy score at BabelScores!
Recording: Recording available at BabelScores. Use link above!

Program note:
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.

In fluchtlinien-E the piece gets another dimension by setting the extremely thoroughly notated flute material with a semi-improvisation part for electronics that just has to obey some simple rules. The electronic part is in many ways also an extension of the percussion part from fluchtlinien-D.

2016-17

totenkopf
for duo
Instrumentation: piccolo & oboe or piccolo & Eb clarinet
Premiere: (clarinet version)30 april 2017, Brussels; Katrien Gaelens, flute – Dries Tack, clarinet
Duration: approx. 9 minutes
Commissioned by: (clarinet version) Odysseia Ensemble
Score: Buy score at BabelScores!

Program note:
‘Whereas in the symbol destruction is idealized and the transfigured face of nature is fleetingly revealed in the light of redemption, in allegory the observer is confronted with the facies hippocratica (totenkopf) of history as a petrified primordial landscape. Everything about history that from the very beginning has been untimely, sorrowful, unsuccessful, is expressed in a face – or rather in a death’s head.’ (W. Benjamin)

This piece started off as what could perhaps be labelled a ‘transit piece’ in the context of the cycle einbahnstraße. This is even (somewhat naively) represented in the work by the transitions in register in the 2 instruments: the piccolo beginning with its very lowest note and always aiming upwards; and the other instrument’s opposite route. But this allegorical transit is constantly unsuccessful; other material breaking through and piling themselves up and what could be simple becomes complex and fragmented.

totenkopf exists in 2 versions: for piccolo and oboe or for piccolo and Eb clarinet.

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

2015-16

Meaning of No Meaning
for trio
Instrumentation: bass flute, bass clarinet, contrabass
Premiere: 9 october 2013, Brussels – Katrien Gaelens, Dries Tack, Jens Similox-Tohon
Duration: approx. 13,5 minutes
Score: Buy score at BabelScores!

Program note:
On a pure musical level this music is about contrasts.
Two ‘themes’; one melodic, looping restatements, obstacles and ornamented planes, tentative lattices of simultaneity, networks forming and diffusing with a fine tread running between the instruments;
the other like a broken machine, jolting and splattering. But also ‘themes’ against ‘no-theme’, or development against ‘staticness’ and so on… (Meaning against No Meaning).

Maybe what I am after with this music is what’s between these contrasts, leaving the music for itself, “being by itself”.
But in the moment that is created between these contrasts a new thought can be formed by the listener.
When you turn your attention to it, the meaningless meaning assumes a meaning that defeats its own purpose.
There is no more meaningless meaning.
Meaning now has some meaning. It points to something else.
But when we become meaning itself, we need not talk about meaning anymore.

-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
Score: Buy score at BabelScores!

Recording:

-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

-2015-

fluchtlinien
for flute
Instrumentation: flute (with B foot)
Premiere: 23 August 2015, Tokyo Opera City, Tokyo (Japan); Kazuko Ihara
Duration: approx. 8 minutes
Score: Buy score at BabelScores!

Program note:
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 1-2

-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: Buy score at BabelScores!

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:

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).