Commissioned by Collegium Novum Zürich, for Sonic Matter Zürich
funded by the Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung
Dedidated in loving memory of Ryan Muncy.
«Seht meine Wunden und an meinen Beinen, die Narben meiner Wunden» (denn wir sind lange gewandert) is a composition for large ensemble that deals with music as spatial art form within the concert format. This work deliberately does not go the way of an installation with a distribution of musicians in space. Instead, it examines the potential of a traditional concert setting to allow music to be experienced as spatial art, which is articulated as such through its formal musical language. It represents a concept of spatiality that is not primarily conceived in material terms: musical space is also and in particular a metaphor for, in the broadest sense, non-linear, de-dramatized gestures of musical gesturing - for a soundscape that does not want to tell us anything. It is simply there. As spectators and listeners we can only witness it.
The formal means by which a music-as-space is created stem from a way of thinking that is influenced by the techniques of digital composition and that seeks to transpose these structures to instrumental-acoustic composition and instrumentation. Specifically, this involves the technique of sampling, which is applied to score excerpts instead of audio files. Because of its harmonic simplicity, 4 measures from Ralph Vaughan Williams' 5th Symphony (3rd movement) were chosen as the ideal source material (see right). These 4 measures form the entire material for the 60 minutes of music.
By copying small "grains" of notes out of a small score sample window and assembling a new score in a long copy & paste process, a kind of musical still frame is created. Like an animated still life, we hear a very short score excerpt from a constantly, ever so slightly shifting perspective. The result is an oscillating sound image that corresponds to a phasing sampler in an instrumental-acoustic way.
The long title «Seht meine Wunden und an meinen Beinen, die Narben meiner Wunden» (denn wir sind lange gewandert) is a quote from Édouard Glissant's "Philosophy of World Relations" (Wunderhorn, 2021). His philosophy is above all also a philosophy of landscape, which recognizes its beauty in the differences and not in the unifying. This composition wants exactly that: through the repetition and the always again newly differentiated perspective it wants to produce a musical soundscape, which we traverse in a long, almost ritualistic procession.
Premiered by Collegium Novum Zürich
Conductor: Gregory Charette
Photo credit: © 2022 Kira Kynd
December 2nd, 2022