07.08.2014

Tight Diamond Formation

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In the performance notes for his new string quartet, Inscribed, in the center: >>1520, Antorff <<, Evan Johnson instructs that the performers should be situated 'close enough that the physical presence of each player's neighbours is more noticeable than it might otherwise be'.


Johnson also states that 'everything should be as if mumbled, privately, with less concern for clarity and communication than with the development and negotiation of a full language within these boundaries. Whatever reaches the audience should be overheard'.

 

For the work's premiere in Centralstation, Darmstadt, the MIVOS Quartet decided to perform opposite one another, retaining this tight diamond formation for the entire concert, which also included 2. Streichquartett: flare by Dai Fujikura, White Wall by Scott Wollschleger, and El jardin de senderos que se bifurcan by Taylor Brook. In this formation, the MIVOS Quartet occupied a central space, establishing a vital distance between the performance and the surrounding audience, a necessary requirement for Inscribed. This, in turn, encouraged a listening that lured one into a sort of inattentiveness, which was the composer's intention.

 

It was within this nucleus that the MIVOS Quartet were able to realise what Johnson terms 'active negative space', a concept inspired by Albrecht Dürer's sketch of fishing boats situated within the harbour of the river Scheldt, a drawing made by Dürer during his visit to Antwerp in 1520–1521. Johnson describes Inscribed as being in part an exploration into the blanks – as it were, the 'non-sketch' - of the drawing, in order to create a 'negative' impression. Within this context, the highly complex and intricate compositional material becomes understandable. Delicate, elegant and peaceful sounds, executed by the MIVOS Quartet with absolute care, precision and seeming effortlessness, resembled a form of meditative state taking place on the most fundamental of levels. Within the time frame of eleven minutes, the performance revealed that it is possible to purify compositional material down to the core and, in turn, bring into focus other 'living' and meaningful substance.

07.08.2014

In the performance notes for his new string quartet, Inscribed, in the center: >>1520, Antorff <<, Evan Johnson instructs that the performers should be situated 'close enough that the physical presence of each player's neighbours is more noticeable than it might otherwise be'.