Das Ende eines Wintermärchens


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

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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).

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