Atmen Sie mit mir…


Atmen Sie mit mir...
ensemble in 3 groups & baroque organ

Instrumentation: baroque organ (with subsemitones)
3 players of clappers (orchestral whip/2 pieces of wood or similar)

Group 1:
flute/piccolo/bass flute (1 player)
clarinet in Bb/bass clarinet /1 player)

oboe/english horn (1 player)
trumpet in C/piccolo trumpet in Bb (1 player)
trombone (with F-valve)

bassoon/contrabassoon (1 player)
2 violins
Duration: approximately 23 minutes
Commissioned by: Swedish Radio for Gageego!
Premiere: 24 october 2021 – Gothenburg with Gageego!, Ligita Sneibe-organ & Rei Munakata-conducting
Score: Buy score at BabelScores!
Program note: Atmen – Breath.

From the onset my musical thinking has always aimed at composing out the abundance of mediations between a number of extremes, or pairs of opposites (like a single breath can be seen as the opposites of inhaling / exhaling): between sound and noise, extreme depth and highest height, durations of such length that they can hardly still be perceived, and the most fleeting moments, between greatest complexity and simplest static. Between the absolute periodicity and complete aperiodicity of rhythms, between scrupulously notated groups of notes or parts of a work and their free combination for performances, between the most detailed through-composed sections of works and passages left to the intuition of the interpreter.

But breathing is also rhythm: oscillation or vibration. On the one hand, this is a term from physical acoustics. On the other hand, “vibration” also has a metaphysical connotation. (In the context of a “theology of dance”, as the theologian Hugo Rahner has deciphered it from Greek and early Christian texts in his book Man At Play, it is “the free-soaring motion [ Beschwingung ] which God as creative principle has imparted to the cosmos.)

If music is the interplay of proportionate vibrations which move in time and which can reoccur cyclically but always generate new forms, then it is possible to say that rhythm is the essence of music, since rhythm is the reoccurrence of a movement as time passes, is repetition of something similar, not the same. The temporal arrow intervenes in the cycle of time and stakes its claim on the new, unrepeatable. In rhythm (and breath) the periodic reoccurrence of something identical, as indicated by the beat, is modulated into aperiodicity.

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