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Morning Laughter
music for cello
dedicated to → Matthias Lorenz

ca. 22 Min.
composed and first performances 1997
→ Download pdf 988 kB
→ Video live recording 2020, Frankfurt am Main, Matthias Lorenz - cello

The composition is consisting of 22 pieces which may be performed as single pieces or in any combination.


Time - the real substance of music - can only be understood in its paradoxical double nature, which always makes it appear as two things: point (or sequence of points) and space, moment and duration, change and continuum, kairos and kronos. The point of departure for the compositional problem is the idea of transferring this double nature to the entire musical material and its formation, to the instrumental treatment, the temporal-formal design, the sound-order, and finally, notation, to the game itself. And this, not to dissolve the paradox there, but to preserve it in the musical material and to make it perceptible, audible and visible. The method chosen on the basis of the initial idea starts first and foremost with the instrumental movements. Nine elementary movement dimensions of the cello-playing, which in traditional play stand in an unconditional structure of fixed hierarchy, are removed from their context, isolated and brought into a new context as independent, equal counterpoints.

This has far-reaching consequences:
Usually, the music text gives an idea of how something should sound, and the player develops his movements in the game. Here, the score indicates how the player should move. And the field of possibilities, as it will sound, is a very different field than the open area in the usual notation. For the player, this means that he must completely re-engineer his practice. It was absolutely fascinating for me to observe the practice of Matthias Lorenz, who premiered the piece.

But back to the nine movement dimensions:
The contrapuntal connection arises on the background of a quasi-serial-contrapuntal structure, which as a "series" is based not on (boundary) points but on movement intervals. The interaction of the movement elements partially eliminates the counterpoint, resulting in quasi-vectorially determined resulting movements. These add up to gestures that preserve the paradox of moment and duration through their contrapuntal foundation. Because of this contradictoriness, the newly found connection between the instrumental movements has become something permanently fragile, the meaning of which is already questionable in every succeeding constellation. The series of movement intervals is simply transferred as a pitch order, each of the 22 pieces works on a single interval, from the small second to the great seventh, ascending and descending. But with the conception of intervals as something double, state and span, this ordering of sound gets to the edge of its own concept. As the instrumental movements become completely intertwined, the tone intervals now become another vector, or give off boundary points for movement. That they can be heard as sounds has become a borderline case.

Unlike the pitch, which becomes an accident in relation to the instrumental movements, tempo and density determine and transform the resulting gestures. Associated with the determination of the durations of the individual pieces, which vary between 12 seconds and 1 ¾ minutes on their own at the border between point and while, all tempo and density distributions are deconvolved in order to differentiate the possibilities of the gestural figures.
A superordinate form divides the 22 pieces into four groups: 1-7, 8-12, 13-18 and 19-22. Like the four groups among themselves, the pieces of each group, with their tempo, density and duration, describe a form of scissors - in the first two groups from the extremes to the middle, in the last two groups from the middle to the extremes. This form of scissors is derived from the series of movement intervals, and this analogy is reinforced by the changing tempi of all the pieces of the two middle groups. This replication of a structure that itself is a symbol of the connection of extremes, the preservation of contradiction and the paradox, at every level of the piece from the large form to the detail, gives you even the double nature of a point-to-point changing and at the same time continuous being. Thus, the fragility of the context of instrumental movement has been transferred to the whole piece, perhaps making it questionable.

The title combines two elements that reflect the basic idea of the composition: "Morning" - in its ambiguity as the highlight of the dawn, with which all beginnings are figuratively linked, and as an endless succession of the next days, the continuity in the horror of a to suggest a uniform future to the present; "Laughter" - as one of the human gifts, to accept the paradox of time and the contradiction of the mornings of human existence, to pull them together in a moment and make them alive.


A section of Shakespeare's Macbeth is a motto of the composition:

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.


First performance:
1997, Juli 23rd: Hoechster Schloßplatz Frankfurt-Höchst; Matthias Lorenz - cello

further performances:
1998, May 8th: Musikhochschule Rostock
2000, March 12th: Frankfurt am Main, Denkbar; with a lecture of the dancer
→ Nik Haffner
2000, May 12th: Wuppertal, Musikhochschule
2000, May 16th: Frankfurt am Main, workshop of the violin-maker Simon Natalis Enke
2005, May 12th: Dresden, Kulturrathaus
2009, April 17th: Oldenburg, Carl von Ossietzky-Universität
2020 March 5th: Projekttheater Dresden, Matthias Lorenz cello
2020 March 7th: Ausstellungshalle Frankfurt am Main, repeat of March 5th
2020 March 9th: Kunstverein Oldenburg, repeat of March 5th