Visiting Ensembles

Ensemble Musikfabrik

Peter Eötvös, conductor
Visiting : Cologne

Inspiration from Japan is the common thread connecting these works by Lachenmann, Hosowaka and Eötvös which Ensemble Musikfabrik from Cologne will perform, conducted by Peter Eötvös. They will be supported, among others, by the Nō-performer Ryoko Aoki and the Shō-player Mayumi Miyata.

Tadashi Kobayashi, The Shrike, 2004

Tadashi Kobayashi, “The Shrike”, 2004

Photo: Library of Congress

Past Dates

16:10 work introduction
Evening programme Ensemble Musikfabrik 08.09.2019 (, 2.1 MB)

4 September 2019, 16:30
Parlando – Rubato
Premiere of the new book by Peter Eötvös
Talk with Péter Eötvös and László F. Földényi
Collegium Hungaricum Berlin

It would be so convenient if we could simply pigeonhole creative artists. Then we would know where to look when we need this or that to lift our spirits. Or we could simply leave them in there. But they refuse to stay. Helmut Lachenmann, for example, just wrote this “Marche fatal” in E flat major, the key of “Ein Heldenleben” as well as C minor-variations on a Japanese cherry-blossom-song. The melody of the march, he said, simply came from somewhere. The air of history is full of such things. You can use them if you can. Modernism, he says, is the plough to break up tradition. Or maybe it is the other way around. Lachenmann’s teacher Luigi Nono demanded: Wake up your ears! Because then, the eye and the mind will wake up too. Toshio Hosokawa is concerned with emancipation from the dictate of the visual. “Bird Fragments” were inspired by (nearly) blind students in Japan who only know birds by hearing, touch or hearsay and have modelled them from clay. Thus, the composer attempts to create the suggestion of a bird from sounds and to reactivate experiences “that are often neglected in the modern era: the sense of materiality, the haptic, the depth and natural spatiality of music.” His main instrument: the shō, this wonderful mouth organ that Lachenmann has also used in his opera.

In “Secret Kiss”, Peter Eötvös draws on a Japanese tradition. The piece was written for Ryoko Aoki. She studied what we call classical music as well as the art of Nō-theatre, which used to be a domain reserved exclusively for men. Ryoko Aoki changed this. Peter Eötvös selected excerpts from Alessandro Baricco’s novel “Silk” as texts for this work. In this very special love story, Eötvös explains, thought and language achieve wave-like motions of time and time measures which allowed him to merge Nō with ideas of European origins. The “Sonata a sei”, twelve years older, is quite different. Bartók’s sonata for two pianos and percussion can be made out in its background, but so can the knowledge of this composer’s odysseys. A keyboard is added, contributing sounds that did not belong to the inner sanctum of modernism. Sister Lowbrow can be refreshingly provoking if you know how to get along with her.

Concert Programme

Helmut Lachenmann
Marche fatale
for piano (2016/17)

Helmut Lachenmann (*1935)
Berliner Kirschblüten
for piano (2016/17)

Toshio Hosokawa
Birds Fragments II
for shô with percussion (1989)

Peter Eötvös (*1944)
Secret Kiss
for narrator and ensemble (2018)
German Premiere

Toshio Hosokawa (*1955)
Birds Fragments III
for shô and flute (1990)

Peter Eötvös
Sonata per sei
for three pianos and three percussionists (2006)

A Berliner Festspiele / Musikfest Berlin event