In this BLOG, the Writing Workshop of the Darmstadt Summer Course, directed by Anne Hilde

Neset, Peter Meanwell and Stefan Fricke, is publishing texts and audio reviews during the festival.
The articles represent the opinion of the respective author.



Infinity: Feldman's String Quartet no. 1


Ladies and gentlemen, a brief silence before we begin.

Composing is not a magic trick. A sand dune recedes momentarily and is blown back into shape. Jittering and leaning. First the air muffles then opens towards the gym ceiling. Not levitation but expansion you can watch it as it goes feel on your skin that it is not a magic trick.

Zero. Plucked and sliding like a smeared chicken. You reveal the surface and you reveal everything. A Capricorn in August. Always tapering always depleted. A Capricorn in August at the lion's den. The grains are each one a discrepancy each one a repetition.

Towards zero. You follow a trail of yellow breadcrumbs. Does it open gently in your hands? Leaning and not jittering. Cage is here. All four of his faces open in tiny inflections not like the air towards the ceiling but inwards towards the centre, towards intimacy. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, composing is not a magic trick. Gathered up, feathered away from the bridge. Clenching at the corners of the mouth, pushing the chin out pulling together the fold of the forehead. Whose bow strokes the strings feathering out away from the bridge tapering towards the top. The next thing is only a moment away now each one a trail of yellow breadcrumbs a string of shiny ovoid objects. Stop, carry on.

Have you had a chance to remember?

The violin a trail of chewy glissandi a gentle collision with a smear of traffic noise. Here, take it. A jury in and out of agreement: composing has not tricked us into civility, only stasis. Progress is zero. The magic of roosting pigeons. Splash a cellphone into a pool of harmonics. Creak. Sentences endlessly punctuated with a semicolon. Almost a triad;

This is not a trick neither is it a drill the violin is awol changing rapidly glacially moderately chewing his glissandi this is endless don't ever change. You start to lose awareness of where your hands and feet are your mouth is your mouth must be open it is hanging open by a thread from the gym ceiling. Crushed together and scattered. The trick is not to stop. You are all led back around to zero or to infinity, either way, where we began, asymptoting. String Quartet in Four Hundred Parts: each one more initial than the last. Bite the E-string with an old frog. Drip. See yourself from above, your skin translucent your mouth hanging by a thread from the gym ceiling.

When you stop moving for a second everything dips and lulls flattens and encircles you regather under the earth in a shallow have your toenails grow out through your shoes your eyelids crust over your facial hair wraps your skull like a turban and yet having slept you emerge strong not a remnant but a revenant holding the daylight in your fingers aching through each centimetre of night shaping yourself to the pain like a narrow bottomless crevasse a zero sure of its own depth and revealing nothing of it, lighter than a mere bagatelle –

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By Alex Taylor