Shadow cast

Music for piano and orchestra

ca. 10 min.
composed 2021
solo piano-2222-2200-2 perc-strings
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As the composer Klaus Huber put it, the task of contemporary composing is to pursue the unresolved questions of the past and to find answers that are valid for the present. Even if he was not explicitly referring to Walter Benjamin, Huber's statement can certainly be understood in his sense. In the essay "On the Concept of History" Benjamin writes:

"In every epoch an attempt must be made to wrest tradition anew from the conformism that is about to overwhelm it."

There is hardly an area in music that is so exposed to the overpowering of conformism as chordal music. At the same time, the piano as an instrument naturally demands a confrontation with precisely this musical level. So what could be more natural than to take up the challenge and use chordal music as the basic material in Shadow cast?
 Thus, there is an almost arbitrary sequence of seventh chords that is sampled several times. In nine sections, an alternating rhythm is simultaneously wrested from the interval structure, which is another characteristic of the whole composition.
 The nine sections form an increasingly divergent scissor shape: the differences in tempi and densities, dynamics and sound material, figurative and rhythmic structures become ever greater - a reflection on the central condition of our present, which at the same time represents both the richness and the great problem of our time: increasing polarisation. Embedded in this, pieces of memory appear again and again, which, together with the chords and the alternating rhythms, form a further connecting bridge within the increasingly heterogeneous field.
 In some passages, the solo instrument appears in a leading, determining or contrasting role, then it merges with the orchestra again and becomes a sound component of the whole. In the percussion instruments, it finds musical neighbours that make special connections possible.