Anfangs drängte es ihm in der Brust, wenn das Gestein so wegsprang, der graue Wald sich unter ihm schüttelte, und der Nebel die Formen bald verschlang, bald die gewaltigen Glieder halb enthüllte; es drängte in ihm, er suchte nach etwas, wie nach verlornen Träumen, aber er fand nichts.

Georg Büchner, Lenz

Title phrēn
Subtitle For six players
Year 2016
Instrumentation Tenor Trombone, Piano, Cello, Electric-Guitar, Percussion 1, Percussion 2
Duration ~ 6:40
Short Technical Description The cello is amplified with a local amplifier type Schertler David X
Premiere 2016, July 2nd
Premiere Details Ensemble Ascolta, Nicholas Kok (dir) Sommer in Stuttgart - Festival für Neue Musik
Location Theaterhaus, Stuttgart
Text Georg Büchner, Lenz

During the time phrēn was comissoned there were several events that deeply moved me personally. When I read Georg Büchner's Lenz I stumbled on a fragment which contains in such a strong language everything one could feel about the borderline of madness. So I decided to incorporate this a single, highly expressive phrase into the composition.

I felt the need to give the text a sonic corporeality. All words of the phrase were broken down into syllables and individual sounds and classified in categories and rhythmic units.

This rich sonic material, as well as the onomatopoeia and the intermedial friction that arises in the process of musical exemplification or sonic imitation were mainly constituent for the compositional concept. On a sonic level, the instrumentation was just as relevant. This setting came from the Ensemble Ascolta and had a decisive influence on the composition.

Ensemble Ascolta, Nicholas Kok (dir) (live-recording of premiere – 02/07/2016) Sommer in Stuttgart - Festival für Neue Musik, Theaterhaus, Stuttgart
© Micha Seidenberg