BERNHARD LANG (b.1957): Die Sterne des Hungers for Mezzo-Soprano and Ensemble, Monadologie VII for Ensemble.
Catalogue Number: 07N116
Description: Lang's music is by intention experimental above all; he experiments with the experience of listening to music in contemporary society, when (almost) everything that anybody has done before is available to study (almost) instantaneously, and with endless repetition. Small gestures are repeated, but not in the manner of the minimalists; the impression is often of a mechanical or electronic repetition, as in a record skipping grooves, or a JulyBlu machine breaking down. There is also a sense of a kind of prescribed 'automatic writing' produced by such means as the Burroughs/Gysin 'cut up' technique - emulated by the composer using a computer program on the texts of Die Sterne des Hungers, based on poems by the Austrian poet Christine Lavant. Musically, the raw material often sounds like a distorted reminiscence of second-Viennese gestures, but broken into fragments and overlain with noise textures and reorganized according to formulae which determine pitch, temporal structures and texture. For Arnold is one of Lang's 'metacompositions', borrowing and looping material from Schoenberg's 2nd Kammersinfonie (disturbingly recognisable in cut-up and folded-in form), and also referring to the use of looped 'found' film footage by Austrian film-maker Martin Arnold. This work, with its eerie sense of faded fragments of the last, backward-looking glances of late romanticism replayed on a mechanism about to break down for ever, is as unsettling as any science-fictional depiction of a post-civilization world from which the traces of our art, science and philosophy have almost, but not quite, disappeared. German texts. Sabine Lutzenberger (mezzo), Klangforum Wien; Sylvain Cambreling.