aus Partitur 'Vier Figuren'

Vier Figuren (Four Figures)

For ensemble (18 players) in three sections

I have always been fascinated by the work of the painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, above all his manner of perceiving reality – the continuous interaction between the detail and the whole; an interpenetration of "a reality devoid of meanings" and that which is inexpressible and ‘hidden behind the veil’. In a conversation with André Parinaud, Giacometti said: "The world surprises me more and more each day. It is either more extensive, or more marvellous; it is more elusive and more beautiful. I am delighted by detail, a small detail, such as an eye in a face, or lichen on a tree. However, not more so than by the whole; why then should we differentiate between detail and the whole? After all, the whole is made up of details, it is the details that bring beauty out of the form."

Just as Giacometti’s sculptures appear at first to the observer as clear cuts in three-dimensional space, so in my composition the chords cut across the reality of acoustic space. Beyond them opens up an expanse of new experiences, originating from the perception of the detail, its aura, how it interacts with other details as they overlay and shroud each other. Elements which keep returning, such as chord cuts, arabesque figures and indistinct sounds, in different contexts appear as new and raise a question as to the permanence of things.

My composition was inspired by a group of four sculptures by Giacometti exhibited by the Beyeler Foundation in Riehen near Basel: Large Head – Striding Man II – Large Woman III – Large Woman IV. Each of them constitutes in itself a centre of spiritual force, while as a group they create in space a field of tensions carrying an enormous charge. Using the sounds of an ensemble divided into three groups I attempt to capture something of that powerful spiritual presence. The fourth pole in this musical-spatial area of tensions is the listener.

The composition is dedicated to Ernst Beyeler on his eightieth birthday.

Bettina Skrzypczak