Message in a Bottle (2018)
(To Marcus Fabian Wolf)
For centuries the idea of a message in a bottle has inspired generations of poets, writers, artists to bring mysterious and intriguing love stories to life. This composition takes the listener on the journey of such a message, but not less mysterious, it follows the story of the sender too. If I wrote a letter, stuck it into a bottle and threw it into the ocean, I’d ask myself ‘What is the journey of this bottle? Where does it go?’ — In our dreams, this bottle can wander through time, to places all over the world, it can visit the deeps of the ocean, pass by creatures of our imagination. Just to find out it will be another rainy day when we wake up, another day waiting for that unlikely reply that we are so desperately waiting for.
Beim Eröffnungskonzert des Beethovenfestes Bonn im September 2009 wurde die Auftragskomposition „Number Nine VIII: Zeitarbeit“ von Moritz Eggert uraufgeführt. Hier lässt Eggert 60 Jahre Deutsche Geschichte Revue passieren. Für die vorliegende Arbeit dient „Zeitarbeit“ als Ideengeber: Der Rezipient soll innerhalb einer ‘Sound Journey’ wichtige historische Zeiträume und ausgewählte Ereignisse als ‘Klangstationen’ auditiv mitverfolgen. Mit der Verwendung eines regelmäßig dramaturgischen Aufbaus innerhalb aller Klangstationen lassen sich auch Parallelen zu geschichtsphilosophischen Ansätzen aus dem 20. Jahrhundert ziehen. Oswald Spengler etwa postulierte für jede große Kultur einen stets gleichen morphologischen Entwicklungsplan, bei dem jene nach einer bestimmen Zeit erschöpft sei und zum Erliegen komme. Auch Julius Evola ist ein Vertreter einer durch große Zyklen bestimmten Geschichtsphilosophie. Der Gedanke, mit der Zuspitzung und Beschleunigung von Leben und Ereignissen (hier: Klangstation 4) näherte sich das Ende eines großen, übergeordneten Zyklus, war bei der Konzeption der vorliegenden Arbeit berücksichtigt worden. Mit Zitaten von Adolf Hitler, George VI., Walter Ulbricht, eine Anlehnung an Günter Schabowski und Angela Merkel sind markante Führungspersönlichkeiten der Europäischen Geschichte verschiedener Nationen in der Arbeit eingebunden worden. In Anlehnung an Berthold Brechts Aussage über die Geschichtsschreibung der Mächtigen, könnte der vorliegenden ‚Sound Journey’ eine Abbildung des kollektiven Gedächtnisses der Geschichte zugeschrieben werden. Erst mit Abbildung der zeitnahen Geschehnisse rückt die Zuordnung der gehörten Stimmen zu einer Persönlichkeit für den Rezipienten absolut in den Hintergrund.
Works for Solo Instruments
and Small Ensembles
Written for a composition master class with the French Ensemble 2e2m at the University of Aberdeen on the occasion of their participation in the Sound Festival 2018 in Scotland. This work caricatures the process of rehearsing a new work, and performing it to an audience. The sections with free tempo as well as instructions in the score leave a lot of room for an expressive performance, overexaggerating the habits and stereotypes of instrumentalists. Extended techniques such as nail pizzicati, blowing air through the flute, or foot stomping help to achieve a comical effect. I would like to encourage the performers to think about this piece not only as a musical, but also a theatrical work.
Écrit pour une master classe en composition avec l'ensemble 2e2m à l'Université d'Aberdeen en Écosse à l'occasion de leur participation au Sound Festival 2018. Cette œuvre est une caricature du processus de répétition d'un nouveau morceau et de sa représentation devant un public. Les moments avec un tempo libre ainsi que les directions inscrites laissent place à une représentation expressive où les habitudes et les stéréotypes des musiciens seront exagérés. L'usage de techniques étendues comme le pizzacati avec l'ongle, souffler de l'air dans la flûte ou encore taper du pied aident à créer un effet comique. J'aimerai donc encourager les musiciens à interpréter ce morceau non pas seulement comme une oeuvre musicale mais aussi comme une ouvre théâtrale.
139 Piccadilly. A Poetic Triangle.
Three Art Songs (2018) (To Jack Graeme Christie)
In this set of three works that the author describes as a poetic triangle, the same situation is told from three perspectives. Calantha (No. 1) makes space for her frustration about her husband, Lord Byron, who in Chartered Love (No. 3) presents his depressed emotional view on the matter, while their dog (A London Hound, No. 2) seems to register some issues with the couple but - given his nature being an animal - playfully and easy-minded explores the city of London, reflecting the circumstances, loyal to both. The poet leaves a considerable room for interpretation and presents us with ambiguous verses. Rather than only paraphrasing the text, this setting into music aims at polarising the meaning towards a certain feel, the composer's interpretation is truly a subjective reflection on the poetic triangle itself. Sung by the same voice, all three movements are to be performed in the given order, filling the different scenes with a dramatic overexaggeration of moods: nostalgic, hysterical, angry in No. 1, ironic, dancing, comical in No. 2; sad, passionate, resigning in No. 3 - to name a few suggestions to the performing artists. In this setting of the text, voice and instrumental accompaniment are to complement each other, with the voice leading in its expressive moments, while the piano skillfully drives the harmonic progressions forward, restless particularly in Calantha, never to seem settled in one key, and moving constantly sequenzing. Should the piano lack a sostenuto pedal as required in No. 1, the careful use of the sustain pedal may be helpful. The singer shall be encouraged to make frequent use of expressive rubati, accelerandi when they suit the text, with the piano supporting this in a colla voce accompaniment. This is a setting of poems by Samuel David Downes.
This is a very sinister interpretation of Paul Verlaine's famous poem Chanson d'automne from his first collection Poèmes saturniens, and more specifically from the Payasages tristes, 'Sad landscapes'. It is reflecting on the poem's use for the invasion of Normandy in World War II, therefore using the dark and foreboding character of the E Phrygian mode. This composition is inspired by fourteenth century French polyphonic and isorythmic composition techniques and picking up on the idea of a repeating rhythmic pattern, yet it aims never to sound quite settled for both performers and audience. Thus, an 11/8 meter is deliberatly chosen and juxtaposed to 12/8 only when the text leaves space for hope and remembrance of brighter days. The in many parts polyphonic texture picks up on the idea of imitation of both preocurring musical ideas, as well as paraphrasing what is given in the text, sometimes creating an onomatopoeic effect (see for example cello in high register, sounding like a violin, m. 16 ff.). With the careful choice of instruments that have a very different sound quality in different registers, this work makes use of a wide pitch range to ensure a great variation in timbres and more possibilities to set into music what is skilfully written in words.
Impressions from A Train Ride.
Duet for Flute and Clarinet (2017) (To Darryl Graham Peers)
This work's aim is to explore the different timbres of the instruments registers. From making use of the clarinet's deep and mysterious sound colour in its chalumeau register, to a pale and fuzzy sounding throat, a bright clarino register to an almost flute-like quality in the altissimo register that seems to be the most perfect match to its the duet partner. The flute's lowest register is very rich and colourful, it's middle register more powerful and carrying, the upper register has a shrill but also light character. Both instruments change their timbre significantly depending on dynamics. Performers are encouraged to exaggerate the crescendos and decrescendos for maximum effect. Extended playing techniques such as multiphonics or bent notes show off the two instruments timbres from a very unfamiliar side. Written for only two instruments, this piece makes use of distinct rythms in both parts to suggest the imagery of a train ride.
This work makes use of unfamiliar playing techniques (i.e. deconstructing the instrument, singing and playing simulaneously, the use of mutes, half valves, hand vibrato, blowing air through the instrument, as well as creating percussive sounds while playing). In doing so, the piece explores a wide range of new timbres and rhythms that may seem uncommon for both players and the recipient. Performers shall follow the instructions in the score precisely. Performers are advised to make themselves familiar with the sculptures of Shinkichi Tajiri as this composition reflects on them.
for Brass Quartet (Flg, 2 Trb, Tb) (2016)
This work’s sound quality is determined by a homorhythmic brass quartet featuring four equally important parts that stay within a small written range as well as closely written harmonies. In the tutti sections, no linear succession of tones shall be leading as a melody at any time. Breaking this texture however, the Flugelhorn player is to perform a (monophonic) solo that makes use of fingering and playing techniques of a three perinet valve instrument. Performing this piece at a space with long reverberation will exagurate its texture. Although used chords could, when analysed, partly serve a harmonic function with regards to tonal music theory, there is no specific tonality intended. The ambiguity of used chords and recurring chord progressions in a transposed form, will make it impossible for the recipient to identify a tonal structure following common harmonic combinations. Oral sounds are used in this work, performers shall use German vowel pronunciation
Other works for
instrument or small ensemble:
Comin' Through the Ages. Impromptu for Piccolo Trumpet in A and Piano (2018) (To Alexander Hirzmann)
Fanfare maritale pour précéder la marche de mariage de Mendelssohn: Songe d'une nuit d'été ('Wedding Fanfare') for Brass Quartet (2Trp, Hrn, Tb) Joint composition with Samuel David Downes (2017) (To Gordon Cooper)
Piano Sketches (2017)
Exploring Trombone. Study exploring extended techniques on the tenor trombone (2017) (To Phillip Stolz)
Three Audition Pieces for Solo Trumpet (To Daniel Leslie) (2016) (buy)
Katastrophe, die Erste. Study for piano (2009)
Various studies for Trumpet (2014-2019)
Choral and Vocal Works (with and without instrumentalists)
A Mass for a Stranger
for Mixed Choir (SSAATTBB) with Organ, Soloist, and Reader (2019)
This mass setting consists of five movements: Introit – Kyrie – Gloria – Sanctus, Benedictus – Agnus Dei. A Mass for a Stranger showcases the performer’s abilities to explore contemporary textures. The mass is inspired by my own journey in the world of choral music and it ranges from the first encounters of Serbian-Orthodox Liturgy, 16th-century counterpoint, to contemporary British and North-American choral repertoire. Particularly the Introit brings together the different musical languages of different periods and cultural backgrounds, not only due to its Serbian text which is taken from an anonymous prayer. In a celebration of internationality and in a European spirit, this work includes texts to be read by readers from different countries in their respective languages. A rather unusual setting of a mass, this work deliberately breaks the commonly perceived conservative approach of settings of Catholic liturgy for more ecumenical ideals. The title refers back to the trope of a ‘Stranger in a foreign place’, finding their way through time, through different places, always on a journey to settle with their own identity. Just like the ‘Stranger’, the music is at times in unrest and it, too, is on a journey from dissonance to harmony, through time, through different places.
Alas, I Mourn the Morning Dew
for unaccompanied Solo Soprano (2018) (To Vesna Wolf)
Expressing as much variety and expression that can be achieved from an ensemble with its variety of possible textures and timbres is possibly the greatest challenge for the composer of an unaccompanied Solo work, and even more for the performer. The text of this work is at the very core of the compositional ideas, and it should be the centre of interpretation for any performer who, almost like the poet himself, presents the story of this work like a narration, paraphrasing in musical ideas what is given in the text. An unaccompanied work for solo voice, the performer can free from the boundaries of systematic tuning or temperament explore a free vocal intonation: Justly tuned intervals and nuances in vowel shapes (particularly in the long notes) that also have an effect on intonation can be really played with by the performer. I would like to encourage the singer to explore the differences between bright vowels /oo/, /aw/, /ah/ which have a tendency to lower the pitch in contrast to the darker vowels that often lower pitch. Special attention should be given to the second, third, and sixth scale degrees; they can vary from tempered intonation to a great degree when sung justly. Intonation and temperament that way becomes a tool for musical interpretation by the performer: just intonation can portray rest and relaxation while a Pythagorean intonation, for example, can express movement and tension more effectively. Intonation in leading-tones or ambiguous or chromatic movements can be deliberately tuned following careful interpretation.
Ein Wind von Westen
for SATB chorus divisi (2017)
(To Peter MacPherson)
This work explores different textures in its sections to underline what is given in the text. The intoduction foreshadows harmonically what is to follow in section B, with its climax in measure 29. I want to mention section C in particular, in which the accompanying voices (SAT) create a 'Klangteppich' (ger. sound carpet) that paraphrases musically what is described as 'Brennen' ('burn, fire') in the text, with basses soli on top. Although the piece is mostly homophonic, the beginning of section B starts with a canon-like polyphony. The melody was closely composed to the text, its contour follows the content of the text, its climaxes underline the most important and most emotional text passages. Although generally written with a simple tonal structure (F minor), this work's harmonies reflect tension and emotion in the poem with clashing notes and a change to Major chords, reflecting the idea of hope in holding a tree branch (e.g. m. 16). Text: Lennart Heickmann
Other choral or vocal works:
Sit Nomen Domini Benedictum. Motet for four parts (Cantus, Altus, Tenor, Bassus), composed in the style of 16th century renaissance counterpoint. (2018) (To Anna-Lena Öhmann)
‘Erpeler Hätz’. Karnevalslied (Rhenish Carnival Song) und Prinzenlied der Session 2018/19 in Erpel am Rhein (Gewidmet Prinz Bernd I und seinem Gefolge) (2018)
Works for Wind orchestra
Impromptu for wind ensemble (2019)
To the Heartbroken. For small wind orchestra. Joint composition with Samuel David Downes (2017) (In memoriam Uli Schwarz)
Intonation Study for Wind Orchestra (2016)
Works for Orchestra
Impromptu pour Vanessa for String Orchestra. Joint composition with Samuel David Downes (2017) (To Vanessa Vallet)