Huber:…À L’Âme De Descendre De Sa Monture Et Aller Sur Ses Pieds De Soie… – Metanoia

Photo: Huber:…À L’Âme De Descendre De Sa Monture Et Aller Sur Ses Pieds De Soie… - Metanoia

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Klaus Huber …À L’Âme De Descendre De Sa Monture Et Aller Sur Ses Pieds De Soie… ,
Metanoia.

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Hans-Peter Schulz (Organ), Walter Grimmer (Violoncello), Max Engel (Baryton), Katharina Rikus (Contralto), Hugo Noth (Accordion), Michael Pattmann (Percussion).
KLAUS HUBER …à l’âme de descendre de sa monture et aller sur ses pieds de soie… Chamber concerto for violoncello solo, baryton solo, contralto, accordion and percussion (2002/2004) “Our view of the world is distorted. We all squint. The eye squints. The ear squints. And our thoughts are distracted by a prepotent magnet. Growth, growth above all else. The totalitarian market.” Klaus Huber, 29 April 2002 In my contribution to the Festschrift 75 Years of the Donaueschingen Festival I wrote: “Sociologists reason that well over 60% of musico-cultural reproduction takes place within a virtual, indirect, digitised and increasingly manipulated environment. An indispensable prerequisite is the absolute belief that quantification of all values – to include human ones too – is feasible. Statistics remain the unchallenged sovereign that allows everything – well, almost everything – to disappear as part of the vengeance exacted by conspicuous consumption: and only the very few reap notable profits. This “disappearance of reality”, which in our multimedia age is being replaced more and more with a virtual reality, leads in a paradoxical way not to a simultaneous and assiduously propagated freedom of any “super individual”, on the contrary, it allows an increasingly powerful potentially manipulative world to unfold. The result? The stereotypical reification of humankind and – perforce – its art, which plods relentlessly on. (See also: Klaus Huber, Umgepflügte Zeit, Schriften und Gespräche, MusikTexte, Cologne, 1999.) The further we intrude into the potential of music as an art form, the more apparent it becomes that music lacking a transcendental aspect has lost its worth. The question “what lies on the outside?” (that which is material) and its corollary what “remains on the inside” (that which may be experienced without the need for it to become material) take on an even more drastic nature when applied to music, as opposed to the other arts. Music is at its very foundation always going to be something like a tangible representation of the world within the medium of its temporality. In the twelve years during which I preoccupied myself with Arabic music and especially with its concomitant traditional musical theory, I was accompanied along the way by my examination of Sufism. I thus came across an ode written by that epochal and universal savant, Ibn Siná-Avicenna. In this text he describes the path and the fate of the human soul in a series of mystical tableaux that he disputes in a philosophical manner. One only needs to consider that Avicenna, an early enlightened spirit from the first millennium, could find no antilogy in such an odic singing of the Sufi “unison experience” of creation – or “unbrokenness” – in which the existential journey of the human soul is described. Ernst Bloch was one of the very first to address the questions posited by Avicenna. In a work dating from 1952 – Avicenna und die Aristotelische Linke (Edition Suhrkamp, 1963) he analyses the significance of Avicenna’s and Averroës’ philosophy for the development of Western thought. When I opine that we Western artists should – not only in our aesthetic positions but also with regard to our very existence – provide the groynes that would defend the wave of objectivity and reification threatening us, it raises the following question: how are we to accomplish a rationally anchored but nevertheless effective resistance? In his Frankfurt address on the occasion of receiving the 2001 Theodor W. Adorno Prize, Jacques Derrida attempted a stupendous feat: a reassessment of dream thought. For the dream itself, Derrida demonstrates a high degree of rationality, one, which is able to surpass the usual sentient state. He draws upon a train of thought that none other than Walter Benjamin had dreamt and subsequently formulated with great particularity. Is it not time to acknowledge as reality the inner, holistic existence of humankind, i.e. its soul, which, just like other external realities, is also rational in its observation of the entire world. Here, Derrida took a first step. But let me return to Avicenna’s ode, a text that from then on would simply not let me go. It accompanied me from the original notion of a cello concerto right up to the premiere in 2002 in Donaueschingen. No sooner had I extended the solo forces – always staying close to Avicenna’s ode – than I was interrupted by the present. In April 2002 I read a previously unpublished poem by the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, one he had written in January that year in the occupied city of Ramallah. His poem touched me so much that it drew me away from Avicenna’s ode – although this remains the conceptual background to my composition – and thus leads me into the present. Regarding the poem “The soul must dismount and walk on silken feet”, it came for me both as a surprise as well as a kind of confirmation to discover how, thousands of years later, Darwish is so obviously able to reach in a central verse of his text Avicenna’s mystic depth – whether he does this knowingly or not I can not say. As I react to the present – in this I have no choice – I hope with this work to have made a humble contribution that will help stem the flow of reification with which humanity (and its soul) is presently confronted, and that this will ultimately prove the salvation of that which is human in an age that has set itself other aims. I do this in full awareness of an extremely brutalised present, one not only affecting Palestine. Klaus Huber Translation: Graham Lack For the new work the composer reworked both Die Seele muss vom Reittier steigen (The soul must dismount it’s horse, premiere Donaueschingen 2002) and …à l’âme de marcher sur ses pieds de soie… (The soul must march on its silken feet, 2004). Metanoia for organ solo (1995) This recording of Metanoia was made for Süddeutscher Rundfunk (South German Radio) in 1997 by Hans-Peter Schulz, using the renowned historical organ built by Johann Nepomuk Holzhey in the abbey church of Neresheim, and was presented on tape at the First International Week of New Organ Music in Trossingen. The premiere took place a year later, when Schulz played it on the same instrument in 1998. The title of the piece relates to a key concept in the Christian tradition, as handed down in the New Testament: μετανοεϊτε, meaning “turn back!” or “repent!”, an invitation to radically realign one’s entire life. The utopian quality of such a radical turnabout is seen as the goal of a long-term effort that can never be escaped, for the turnabout always lies before us or behind us, but never in our possession. This is the background that governs the structure and timbral shape of Huber’s work. To quote the composer: “Metanoia does not result from reflection, but ‘falls upon us from above like a bolt of lightning’”. The lightning-bolt of this reversal or turnaround is already visible in a sketch, where it is shown as the Fall of the Angels, dividing the piece into two sharply contrasting sections of unequal size. Section 1 is meant to bring about a compression and intensification of the tonal and timbral material in undulating motions and turbulence. Section 2 is characterised by what Huber himself terms “monotony”. The lightning-bolt itself – the turnaround – is left unheard, for the ending, orbiting the pitch A-flat, emerges from the reverberations emanating from the loud conclusion of Section 1. Huber’s …à l’âme de descendre de sa monture et aller sur ses pieds de soie… likewise has a pivot pitch of A-flat, a pitch signifying love in the composer’s mind (his father had discovered this correlation in a doctoral dissertation on Heinrich Schütz). Microintervals (well-tempered A-flat plus a third-tone above and a third-tone below) are used simultaneously in various combinations to generate so-called “beats”. Metanoia, too, bears audible traces of the composer’s study of Arabic music. In Section 2 Huber calls for microtonal alterations of the pitches – a special challenge on the organ, whose nature and construction actually forbid such effects. In this respect the unequal tuning of J. N. Holzhey’s historic instrument serves the composer in good stead. In order to perform the microintervals in …à l’âme de descendre de sa monture et aller sur ses pieds de soie…, specially tuned reed stops have to be built into the accordion. Teresa Carrasco Translation: J. Bradford Robinson

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