TALK: CARL ROSMAN
Listen to Carl Rosman speaking about the Partch instruments, Ensemble Musikfabrik as a collective and the programming
of this concert in an audio interview:
Pics in Vimeo: (c) Musikfabrik, Janet Sinica, Astrid Ackermann
GEORGES APERGHIS: THE DONG WITH A LUMINOUS NOSE
for Helen Bledsoe
I wrote that piece for Helen Bledsoe with whom I have a close collaboration through several projects with the Ensemble Musikfabrik. I knew she likes very much playing flute chant/parl (here it is the piccolo) and that she uses her voices in several registers. She also told me she loved stories and the texts from Edward Lear, that like Lewis Carroll works on nonsense.
This text allows me to show several colours of parl/chant with the piccolo and to go from the vocal percussions to intelligible text. When I wrote this piece, I was thinking about the stories told by the children and thanks to Helen, I’ve become a child again.
HARRY PARTCH: CASTOR & POLLUX
Castor and Pollux is a dance piece depicting the story of Leda and the swan and the birth of the twins Castor and Pollux. Partch’s score consists of two halves, one for each twin. The first three scenes of each half are scored for two instruments and are to be represented by two dancers. In the final scene Chorus of Delivery from the Egg, all six musicians and all six dancers perform their parts simultaneously. Castor and Pollux is the first piece in the three-work set Plectra and Percussion Dances, a set of compositions Partch grouped together not due to any underlying theme, but because of the quality and character of the music.
title page of the original score
BETHAN MORGAN-WILLIAMS: GÊMDISYN
The word “Gêmdis” combines the Welsh words for “game” and “dice”. Morgan Williams’ Gêmdis was composed in 2020 for Carl Rosman and Ensemble Musikfabrik. “Gêmdisyn” – the suffix “-yn” designating in Welsh a singular thing found in the natural world – is based on the solo E-flat clarinet part of that piece. It is more like a new piece made from recycled materials than a mere extraction, however: sections have been reordered, reshaped and in some cases discarded entirely. While Gêmdis took several rolls through different emotional states, Gêmdisyn alternates between just two: a whimsical, skipping chatter, like a child talking to itself, and a fiery, flashing loss of control. A new central section of fragile harmonics and deliberately audible leaks of air – ironically marked “mechanical” – breaks the pattern and despite its delicacy adds a degree of certainty to the random shakes of the dice. As the game comes to its end and the different temperaments depart, it is this atmosphere that remains. Gêmdisyn was commissioned by Musikfabrik and written for Carl Rosman.
LIZA LIM: THE GREEN LION EATS THE SUN
The Green Lion Eats the Sun was written especially for Melvyn Poore and the double-bell euphonium that he developed in collaboration with the instrument builder Gottfried Büchel during 2011/12. “The Green Lion Devouring the Sun” is one of the classic images of alchemy with a great variety of interpretations as to its possible meaning. The green lion usually represents a powerfully volatile corrosive agent (aqua regis) which swallows seven metals, even dissolving gold in a process of purification.
The solo work explores the sonic worlds of the two bells of the instrument: a muted bell is used to filter fragments of a carnival of sound that are played through the open bell. The muted echoes represent the level of our conscious knowledge that barely catches hold of a riot of activity arising and falling away at the pre-conscious level. Every now and then a more intense communication between the two sides occurs as the bells flutter open and close.
Also see the post on my blog have notebook & pen – will compose about the unusual circumstances of the composition of this work.
HARRY PARTCH: VERSE 21
Mazda Marimba, Chromelodeon, Bloboy, Crychord and Cloud Chamber Bowls – those are only a few of the extraordinary instruments the musicians from Ensemble Musikfabrik have to master for And on the Seventh Day Petals Fell in Petaluma. The piece written between 1963 and 1966 by the American composer Harry Partch consists of 34 approximately one-minute pieces in varying instrumentation, from duet to octet. It was written for a series of instruments, which Partch drafted and constructed by himself to realise his own microtonal system.
The sculpture-like instruments are the only complete set of Partch instruments outside of the stock of the School of Music at the University of Washington in Seattle. Under the direction of Thomas Meixner and on behalf of Ensemble Musikfabrik the instruments were reconstructed completely for the first time and were learned by the ensemble members. Petals is a collection of instrumental studies written by the American maverick Partch in preparation for his opus magnum Delusion of the Fury, which was performed for the first
time in Europe with great success during Ruhrtriennale 2013 by Ensemble Musikfabrik. Petals as well experienced its European premiere with Ensemble Musikfabrik – at the Kieler Tage für Neue Musik 2014.
MILICA DJORDJEVIĆ: HOW TO EVADE?
She relies on her working method and her language, which has emerged over the years. She thus has no difficulty, in How to evade? for oboe and violin (2011), in taking up the timbral and performative clich s of these instruments and subjecting them to closer scrutiny and transformation. As the piece begins, the two instruments appear in their traditional garb; the violin gives us idiomatic clich s reminiscent at times of romantic violin concertos: passages in double stops, heavy vibrato, cantabile lines, virtuosic runs. While this is going on, the oboe enters the bucolic world of the English horn familiar from Wagner’s Tristan. Time and again Djordjević allows the sounds of these contrasting if registrally similar instruments to intersect, letting the initially fugitive points of contact swirl, merge and split apart as if by chance. That the violin and oboe abandon their definitive classical sound in this fluid mêlée escapes notice in the moment of its occurrence.
Exploring and illuminating the full potential of instruments outside their conventional sound is one of Djordjević’s special predilections.
from: Where basses bark and stars think – The music of Milica Djordjević
dust / dʌst / n.: a fine, dry powder of tiny particles of waste matter or earth.
A film of dust is a like a membrane, covering or layering the body or thing, on the ground, on surfaces or carried in the air. The dust of the earth is a place of burial. Dust within a room is composed mostly of dead skin, a powder of mortal remains.
„… not a sound only the old breath and the leaves turning and then suddenly this dust whole place suddenly full of dust when you opened your eyes from floor to ceiling nothing only dust and not a sound only what was it it said… come and gone in no time gone in no time.“
That Time, Samuel Beckett
„…all these words, all these strangers, this dust of words, with no ground for their settling, no sky for their dispersing, coming together to say, fleeing one another to say, that I am they, all of them, those things that merge, those that part, those that never meet, and nothing else, yes, something else, … a wordless thing in an empty space…“
The Unnameable, Samuel Beckett
Inside, withheld, unbreathed,
Souffle, vapour, ghost,
hauch and dust.
Absent, silent, void
Either, neither, sole,
dust is a solo for two, each their own. An homage to Christian Dierstein and Dirk Rothbrust for the (many) wonderful sound sessions over the years. Each performer creates their own version, defined by their own instruments and the chosen juxtaposition of up to eight separately composed modules. The fallible physical body behind the sound, feeling the weight of sound, exploring the essence of a timbre, seeking the grit and noise within. Surface, weight and touch are the essence of musical performance: the weight of a heavy beater resounding on the drum skin; the bow drawing the sound out of silence; the differentiation of touch pressing the brushes into the drum skin; the expansion of the muscles between the shoulder blades; the player‘s in-breath preceding the played tone …