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Seven Little Movements
for violin, cello and piano

ca. 19 Min.
composed and first performance 2001
→ Download pdf 916 kB
→ Video with score, recording 2011 Dresden, elole piano trio.


It is a pleasure to compose for such wonderful musicians as I could here.
A number of events of this composition are rooted in shared experiences, small marginal notes and conversations about music with these musicians. There was e.g. a conversation with Matthias Lorenz about Joseph Haydn and his method of dealing with listener expectations, awakening them and then redeeming them differently than expected, and asking whether this way of thinking is possible today. We could not quite agree on that. My thoughts landed very quickly at Fluxus.

Now I often find it rather ridiculous when contemporary composers adopt 40-year-old methods, talk about crossing borders, and pretend that they invent something completely new. The use of theatrical, performative or scenic elements within music is not just a border crossing today, but a venerable legacy. However, considering the current renaissance of concert rituals, it can be said that this heritage is largely ignored - and, unfortunately, most of the ignoramuses are left unscathed.

For me, this was about a combination of two historical positions (not leaving space for my own!), and the question arises as to whether the connection can extend beyond both. About Haydn, perhaps, in that asking questions about expectations does not focus solely on the immanence of the piece, but involves and finally questions the whole frame of reference "concert", "performance", "interpretation", "composition". About Fluxus, placing the action in a contradictory but serious frame that drives out the bold and a certain attitude of refusal without taking the brunt of provocation and self-irony.

The constructive framework of the Seven Little Movements itself is relatively simple: Each instrument has its own series, which is repeated several times through different permutations. (Although it contradicts the principle of the economy of the material, the difference in the material simply creates beautiful counter- and parallelism, as would not be possible with a single series.) The individual movements now differ with respect to the size of their tone groups (a primitive, and therefore very clear feature), in terms of their sound production and their music organization. Thus, the first movement consists exclusively of groups of five tones, it is knocked on the wooden parts of the instruments and the movement is started together and then played independently at their own pace. In the fourth movement, there are sound groups of three sounds, here are series of very fast accented chord and double-hand repeats, there is a common tempo and a fast steady meter. In the third movement there are one groups and thus no grouping, etc. In the fifth movement, there is a scale of tempos that are used by all three voices, with connections to the other voices.

Between these sentences are each small actions. After the first movement, the cellist once goes around his cello, at the end of the second movement, while the violin is still playing, the pianist turns to the cellist with the words: "Was wär' D. Lös ohne Belang". And finally, at the end of the sixth movement, the violinist seeks a person from the audience who plays the seventh movement for him.

This list of differences makes it clear: I have searched for a wide range of heterogeneous material here. The "real" takes place - as always - in the relationships of these heterogeneous positions. And this - as always here - has to be found by everyone.

A key can certainly also be found in the text of the fifth movement, which can only be understood by the musicians as a whole: It is a small part of an essay by Massimo Cacciari: Chronos apokalypseos - Time of the Apocalypse.


Aber - wird nicht genau dies unsere Chiffre sein: die Apokalypse des Vergänglichen wieder in einer Sprache, einem Wort zu versuchen, das nicht jenes lebende ist, das nicht jenes prophetische sein kann? Als ob sich das Ich, das sich im Werk zeigt, durch geheime Machenschaften seiner Sprache, dank Erinnerungen, die noch erblühen müssen, tatsächlich ins Wir verklären, verwandeln könnte? Als ob dieses Ich, aufgrund seiner gegenwärtigen Einsamkeit, den Blitz, der das Aber bindet, zu dem wir fähig sind, dem Wir verspräche, zu dem wir noch nicht fähig sind? Wird es nicht genau dies sein, was wir müssen: das Aber nachhallen lassen, als ob das Wir nicht ‚niemals mehr’, aber ‚noch nicht’ wäre?

(But - won't this be exactly our cipher: to try again the apocalypse of the ephemeral in a language, a word, which is not that living one, which can not be that prophetic one? As if the I, which is manifested in the work, could actually be transfigured, transformed into the We through secret machinations of its language, thanks to memories that still have to blossom? As if this I, because of its present solitude, promises the lightning, that binds the but that we are capable of, to the We, that we are not yet capable of? Isn't this exactly what we have to do: make the But reverberate as if the We were not ‘never again’ but ‘not yet’?)

→ Massimo Cacciari: Chronos apokalypseos - Time of the Apocalypse. in: The same: Time without Kronos, Ritter Klagenfurt 1986, p. 37f.


First performance:
2001, October 18th: Kulturrathaus, Dresden; → elole piano trio: → Uta-Maria Lempert - vl, → Matthias Lorenz - cello and → Stefan Eder - pno

Further performances:
2001, October 20th Groß-Gerungs, Österreich
2002, April 19th Odessa Festival
2002, June 14th Coswig
2002 September 14th Eisgarn, Österreich
2003, January 20th Zürich, Helferei
2004 July 7th Dresden, Albert-Hall
2004, October 28th Dresden, Leonhardi-Museum
2011, October 5th Dresden, Festspielhaus Hellerau
2011 October 9th Chemnitz, Neue Sächsische Galerie
2012 April 26th Oldenburg, Altes Gymnasium


Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten on Oct. 22nd, 2001, to the concert on Oct. 18th

From unsophisticated to brutal
Piano Trio Evening with New Music in the Culture Hall
by → Benjamin Schweitzer

When the cellist Matthias Lorenz invites to a concert, one can generally count on interesting discoveries. Lorenz, violinist Uta-Maria Lempert and pianist Stefan Eder had a program for the latest project assembled around the piano trio lineup. (...)
The second premiere of the evening, "Seven Little Movements" by Friedemann Schmidt-Mechau, was able to assert itself well1).
An ingenious, subversive, precise piece in which mute gestures - such as a tender turning of the violin or a brief cello run - are integrated as well as enchanting knock passages on the instrument body and the lid of the grand piano. All this did not seem like a cheap, sought-after effect, but it fitted of course; the performer obviously enjoyed this (...) From deep (self) irony, finally, the statement, the last section of the piece through a spontaneous to let a member of the audience play ...
After all, a subtle conclusion to a risky chamber music evening.

1) This refers to Bernd-Alois Zimmermann's duo "Intercomunicazione" for violoncello and piano, which was played before the "Seven Little Movements" in the concert.