Commissioned by: Acht Brücken, Musik für Köln & Casa da Música Porto
Premiere: Philharmonie Köln, 1.5.2022, Ensemble Musikfabrik, ruído vermelho, Thomas Hummel (Klangregie), Yorgos Zarvas (direction)
1. Joint optimum
2. Physical modeling
3. Canon I
4. Narcissus and the decadence of beauty
5. Improvisation on no. 4
6. Amplifying of the human
7. Pecking chickens
8. Improvisation on electricity and noise
9. Canon II
10. Improvisation on No. 9
11. Vermalung VI - Western music
12. Improvisation on no. 11
The title of the work establishes a connection to the 1978 novel by the French writer George Perec, whose book La vie mode dʼemploi (The Instruction Manual of Life) constructs a novel in which the various stories relate to each other like the pieces of a puzzle.
Das Gedächtnis Gebrauchsanweisung follows the formal idea of Perec's novel. It consists of 12 small sections, each containing a musical discourse that is both self-contained and open to possible continuation. What connects all the sections, however different, contrasting, and even contradictory in style they may seem, are the various degrees of proximity or distance to a listening experience, to a preexisting musical work. In Das Gedächtnis Gebrauchsanweisung, there are various ways of establishing relationships between sections. One commonly used way is the use of audio recordings and their instrumental imitation: the sample recreates an acoustic experience, which in turn is reinterpreted by the acoustic instruments. Or the opposite, the sample or electronics imitate what the instruments played. By the nature of the process itself, and by the use of different means, any imitation in this case is a transformation. It is a transformation that illustrates the impossibility of imitation. Imitation and transformation are thus two essential elements in the creation of form and in the relational strategies between the different domains.
Improvisation, which appeals to memory in a very particular way, is perhaps the most human and personal kind of transformation. Ultimately, any attempt to reproduce a reality through memory is at the same time a form of ultra-personal transformation, since imitation involves not only the intrinsic transformation of the entire attempt, but also the state of mind, emotions and feelings.
Das Gedächtnis Gebrauchsanweisung is an appeal to the use of memory as a means of comprehending the whole. Since it was written entirely during the pandemic, it could not fail to be a work that embodies the fears, hesitations and hopes that accompanied us all. Perhaps for this very reason, it is one of the most personal works I have ever made.
Foto: Jörg Hejkal
Audio Example: Musikfabrik, ruído vermelho, Yorgos Zarvas
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