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Dan Dediu, Romania
My new piece Hyperkardia III. Hommage to Schnittke and Denisov belongs to a cycle of works based on the idea of shifting time and diagonal counterpoint. The structure of the piece is based on the concept of different tempos, all driven by the cardiac pulse of each performing musician. Complex musical situations are interwoven and released through two basic patterns: Contrapunctus and Harmonica. Alternations between these patterns sustain the labyrinth-like form of the piece.
Ivan Fedele, Italy
In my new piece Deystviya, there are two main connections with Russia:
The first is the Bayan, a Russian instrument, akin to the accordion. It is a most unusual instrument and one, which along with the cimbalom, I most love.
The second connection, related to the structure of my piece, is inspired by the principles of topology, especially those of the very famous “Poincaré conjecture”, demonstrated by the Russian mathematician Grigory Perelman. My father, I mention I passing, was a mathematician, and when I was young, he often used to speak to me about this conjecture which, at the time, was as yet undemonstrated.
Roland Freisitzer, Austria
On January 24th, 2011, I sat down to write a piece, which I had previously sketched out. My point of departure had been that of composing a work having a distinct tie to Russia. The piece was going to be called “Sigmund in a Café — Hommage to Victor Pelevin”. However, just before setting to work, news broke about the despicable act of terrorism which had just occurred at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport. Highly impressed by this terrifying act of cowardice, which terrorism always is — even if the person “offering” his or her life in order to take 35 other lives, wrongfully sees himself as being a hero, – my music began to acquire a life quite unlike the one I had intended, turning into a kind of reflection on the Domodedovo act of terrorism. Though different from my original idea, it ended up by becoming even more closely linked to Russia.
My piece is a quiet lamento, a music of mourning, a dirge; at the same time, it reflects the hope — faint, though genuine– for a future without terrorism or cruelty.
“Cantus IV – Music for 3 flutes and ensemble” is dedicated to the memory of the victims of the January 24, 2011 terroristic act at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport.
Dragomir Iossifov, Bulgaria
Here but a few worlds from me about my composition. Here are these words (more than anything else, they are designations, names, spaces…)
Nono, he is — Luigi; Erofeev — Benedict, also, obviously (“The Passion according to Erofeev”); Moscow — a circle (like Execution Square) – Saint (…) burg — the steeple, the Admiralty (of folly, as well)
“Moscow – who are you?”, as Nono asked, mouthing Khlebnikov…
“And you, who are you?”, I asked myself, walking about the city — both metaphysically and in reality. This question somehow rings in my very composition.
Here, one also thinks of Andrei Platonov — with his language, revealing the absurd and hidden power of Soviet nonsense… that blurred frontier between the intelligible and the unintelligible… which always seriously and seriously disturbed me.
Here, within this piece, I have attempted to represent the impossible encounter between Shostakovich and Nono (this encounter, as we know, was boasted about by members of the Soviet Union of Composers in a fantastic way…. in 1964 Nono’s visit to the USSR, on the whole, was “Gogol-esque” in nature). Hence the sub-title of the present piece: Incontri impossibili… If we do not meet in the conceivable, then we’ll meet in the inconceivable.
And so, we present these chaotic words and archipelagos, which are related to the present composition.
I am glad that this commission came from Moscow and not from, let’s say, U’lma — which would have little been conducive to my, as one says — inspiration.
Luis Naon, France
My inspirations for this work, Tin and Bronze Voice (Chamber Concert), come mainly from three different sources, all of which are, for me, strong references to the Russia I can imagine and that I admire.
The first inspiration comes from an analysis of the Bell of Andrei Roubliov (as it appeared in Tarkovsky’s film of 1967), and a part of the harmony of my piece is is strongly connected to this sound.
The second inspiration is psychological and is of a dark nature: Dostoievsky’s personages (Raskolnivkov, but also many other visions from “The House of Death” and “The Karamazov Brothers”).
The third is a very brief citation (not easily recognizable) of the spirit of Mussorgsky and Stravinsky, for me, very deep and powerful musical references, ever present in my mind, and this, ever since childhood.
Roger Redgate, United Kingdom
Black Icons derives its title from the work of the poet Alina Vitukhnovskaya, whose work would seem to represent an artist's radical reaction to her political situation, without being intimidated into a retreat to aestheticism. I was inspired by the extreme anarchy of the poet's work combined with a refined sense of form and structure, as one possible response to the role of the contemporary artist in post Soviet Russia. The structure of the music is similarly anarchic placing the soloist more in a state of alienation, progressing through difficult and alien landscapes, than in “harmony” with the ensemble.
Gundega Šmite, Latvia
The composition Mysticisms aims to capture the “metaphysics” of Russia’s highly rich folklore and historic atmosphere. The most important source of inspiration for the piece was the art of the Russian/French painter, Marc Chagall, in whose works one finds imprints of many of Russian art’s historical roots, from Byzantine and Russian icon painting, to folk art and mythology. One also finds in his paintings the atmosphere of Chagall’s birthplace and childhood home in Vitebsk. These are all embodied in the painter’s unique symbolism.
Laszlo Tihanyi, Hungary
When I was asked to participate in the project “Europe through the eyes of Russians. Russia through the eyes of Europeans”, I began to meditate upon my rapport with Russian culture. I quickly realized that not only was Russian music very important to me, but so were Russian literature, the fine arts and film. I decided to concentrate on film and write a piece based on imaginary dialogues with two extraordinary film directors: Eisenstein and Tarkovsky. My composition is an attempt, in music, to express my reactions to their visions of the world and therein to find connections with them.
Lidia Zielińska, Poland
I was always fascinated by Russian artists and inventors, such as Roslavets, Lourie, Obukhov, Shillinger, Vyshnegradsky, Kulybin, Avramov, Baranov-Rossine, Termen, Golyshev and Kandisnky. I have published articles and research papers about a certain number of them (including for the Polish edition of the Britannica Encyclopedia). My latest discovery is Serguei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorsky (1863–1944), one of the inventors of color photography. His series of photographs dating from 1909, documenting the richness and diversity of the landscapes and people of his country, has deeply inspired me.
I have attempted to find a musical expression for 3 reasons which explain my fascination with Gorsky: the aesthetical beauty of his color photos, the historical value of the significance of the nature he documents, and the technical aspect of his method. Gorsky captured images on 3 glass-plate negatives, and combined them with the different colours of the spectrum. I hope that the figure "3", which appears in the very title of my piece, similarly reflects the 3-fold signification of my music.
For me, participating in this project represents the possibility of making encounters. Those ever — desired and indispensable encounters with a different attitude, with a different “world order”. For this, does it suffice to merely open the window or does one have to go out onto the street? Does one need to gaze at the stars or to make a speech? Searching for lost beauty, one arrives at the Cathedral, the highest edifice; based on the quantity of high-storied buildings one finds, one learns about the history of the building and, more broadly, about that of its tenants. One reaches and walks about with a set of instructions. One stares at the candle and, according to how the wax spreads, one deduces the extent of the flame.
What is required for such an encounter? And what will remain after we have gazed? What will be changed?
I have never been to Romania, but nonetheless feel a strong tie with this country. For me, Romania is, above all, the music of the outstanding composer Horacio Radulescu. As it appears to me, his music comes from the very heart, suscitating my deepest participation. In my opinion, the works of Radulescu, despite their fairly complicated musical language, contain something authentically national, clearly representing the face of Romania.
My new piece is dedicated to Horacio Radulescu.
Within the name of the piece, which can be translated roughly as follows:
A Fast Train/Faster into the Past
Old music is no longer music?/is still music!
one finds the combination of words “old music”,
which nevertheless “is still music”.
This is directly connected with Austria, not only because of Ernst Jandl’s text, but also because the composer uses the material of two “old music-s”:
Drei Bagatellen (2003), der schönen Stadt Wien gewidmet
Drei Bagatellen (2005), für Ensemble Reconsil Wien
Jandl’s text provides an unlimited scope for the composer’s fantasy:
er ist offen
er ist weiter offen
er ist sehr weit offen
er ist zu
and one could imagine that the singer will not sing; rather, availing herself of musical innovations which have been acquired over the past ten years, she will recite melodically, she will be yelling, she will be whispering, she will start losing her voice and go hoarse…
It would appear …
But “old music” is nothing but “old music”.
And the composer will therefore oblige the singer to simply sing.
The roots of Hungarian culture and language are distant from their Russian counterparts. This gives rise to a certain tension between our cultural dispositions, as well as to the aspiration to learn about something entirely unknown, “foreign”. And yet, there did exist points of contact within our different roots.
My new work begins with a personal improvisation on a popular theme of the Hanti, the Trans-Ural relations of the proto-Hungarians who came from the “Great Hungary”. What appears as being important in the composition is not only the melody itself as much as the fact of making naïve and personal music, combined with the tension which invariably arises from an attempt to interpret a truly different “world”.
The title of my work is characterized by the English combination of words “cross worlds”. Phonetically, it sounds like the word “crossword”, and to a substantial degree, reflects the idea of my very piece, as well as of the entire project.
The crossword is a combination of different words, which have points of intersection. Along similar lines, the idea of “intersection” represents the mutual influences that cultures of different countries have had one on the other. The countries taking part in the present project so “intersect”, as do the individual composers participating in it.
Bulgaria, related to Russia in the spirit of Orthodoxy, attracted me in particular because of its ancient and long-standing folk-music tradition, as well as its similarly ancient legends, traditions, rites, instruments, etc. Intrinsic to “cross worlds – cross words” is the fact that both Russian and Bulgaria share an alphabet, the Cyrillic, as well as, on the whole, common Slavic roots.
In and of itself, the sound material of my new piece is highly subjective, based on the impression the composer has of France. On the other hand, material and techniques for this composition (spectral techniques and the algorithmic production of the piece’s different components) have been selected intentionally, providing an additional “rational” allusion to the theme of the entire project.
The name of the piece, “hypnagogia”, represents the transitional moment between wakefulness and sleep. The idea of the piece, reflected in this name, is based on the interaction of forms, their apparition and their significance, bringing out the subsequent tie between musical elements and their borders.
The piece A Circular line on the face of an abyss is dedicated to the memory of the 22,000 officers of the Polish Army, executed in 1940 by the NKVD in the town of Katyn. It is also dedicated to all the innocent Polish victims of Stalinist repression, as well as to the victims of the air-plane catastrophe of Poland’s President, L.Kashinsky, in April 2010. By some mystical coincidence, this catastrophe took place in the same place, close to the town of Katyn.
The unique national "colour" of Latvian folklore, expressed in masterpieces of popular culture such as songs, tales and legends, with their aura of the mysterious, is only beginning to be revealed to the world today. The serious research being presently pursued on the subject, coupled with the freshness of the material at hand, guarantee that interest in this unique culture will henceforth be preserved forever!
In my opinion, contemporary English music is not only represented by a series of brilliant composers, such as Brian Ferneyhough, Michael Finnissy or Richard Barrett, but also, by several generations of outstanding musicians, whose works are seen as being related to the so-called style of “free improvisation”. In the first place, one here needs to name the AMM group, Derek Bailey, John Butcher and, in particular, Evan Parker, the great, legendary saxophone virtuoso and musician, whose contribution to contemporary music is difficult to overestimate.
The name of my piece, inspired by Parker’s works, makes reference to his solo album dating from 1978: “Evan Parker at the Finger Palace”. In it, we find an example of detailed improvisation, “Fingerprints”, in concentrated form, using technical methods which have become the saxophonist’s “calling card”: lengthy playing on a circular breath, the usage of non-standard fingering, virtuosic playing of multiphonics, etc.
The name of the piece, Buffatore, is from the Italian for glass-blower.
Several years ago, when the composer traveled to Italy with his wife, our only day in Venice was spent in a down-pour of rain. Sheltering ourselves from it, we landed in the atelier of a glass-blower.
And there, before our very eyes, from something roaring, creaking, gritting and enveloped in flames, there arose something peaceful, delicate and fragile…