Inter Spatia

Catherine Lamb

The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church becomes a resonating space for a portrait concert of the composer Catherine Lamb with two works for a variety of instrumentations, which share the feature of timeless sonority.

Composer Catherin Lamb points her finger at the sketch of a spiral.

Catherine Lamb

Foto: Rui Camilo © Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung

Past Dates

The US-American composer and viola player Catherine Lamb describes her work as exploring “the interaction of tone, summations of shapes and shadows, phenomenological expansions, the architecture of the liminal (states in between outside/inside), and the long introduction form”. Her work explores subtle tonal interactions in space, nourished by the Hindustani classical music tradition (via her mentor Mani Kaul), by just intonation (James Tenney), psychoacoustic approaches (Marianne Amacher), and the liminal sensibility of Éliane Radigue.

Catherine Lamb's unique composition techniques can only be fully experienced and understood in relation to their acoustic and electronic instrumentations. MaerzMusik features two associated works of very different instrumentation yet similar sonorities: The new microtonal brass septet “inter-spatia” follows an elemental structural progression, carried by a spatial, star-like formation of the musicians. Musicians focus their attention on sounding the structurally mapped harmonic shapes. Enveloped by microsounds, listeners experience an ongoing dynamic of relations through different sound intensities. “inter-spatia” is a joint project with Borealis – a festival for experimental music in Bergen, Norway.

The second work, “wave/forming (astrum)”, is informed by building blocks of musical experience and of ephemeral moments in time. Harmonies are scrutinised, scales are contracted and expanded. The piece continues some of Lamb's experimentation with pointillism, in which short articulations interact and build towards lines that lengthen into what Lamb calls a “more total form”. While the experience feels organic, the complex, layered material is produced by two synthesizers, built and played by Bryan Eubanks and Xavier Lopez. Their digital fixity allows for the precise tuning necessary for the underpinning harmonic series gradually to be revealed.

Catherine Lamb
wave/forming (astrum)(2019)
for two synthesizer

Bryan Eubanks, Xavier Lopez synthesizers

Catherine Lamb
for microtonal Tuba Trio with Trombone Quartet (or oscillator variation)
German premiere

Robin Hayward microtonal F tuba
Peder Simonsen microtonal C tuba
Martin Taxt microtonal C tuba

RAGE Thormbones:
Mattie Barbier trombone
Weston Olencki trombone

Henrik Munkeby Nørstebø trombone
M.O. Abbott trombone

Commission supported by Arts Council Norway. Project supported by Goethe-Institut and the International Coproduction Fund. Co-produced in collaboration with Borealis – a festival for experimental music.