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Two separate but similar ‘real life’ incidents provided the inspiration for the second part of this piece, La Paix. The first came during a concert I was at by a well known contemporary music ensemble when all of a sudden, outside the auditorium, completely oblivious to what was going on inside, a massive fireworks display exploded into life. The second concerned a concert I myself was performing in of the music of Alvin Lucier (itself extremely quiet, where almost nothing happens) and again, for some reason, a brief fireworks display came and went outside the walls of the concert hall. What was strange about the second incident was that it seemed to fit somehow. I wasn’t upset, rather my listening had become so focused that this intrusion seemed only to change the colour of the canvas onto which the sounds were painted, making them even more beautiful and delicate.
What was common to both experiences was that there was something mysterious going on outside, something unseen, a party at which we, the audience, became unintended guests.
The first part of my piece La Rejouissance uses material borrowed from Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks. Actually, it is no more than a climactic cadence from the overture but it is stretched out by the ensemble onstage and elaborated upon in an extrovert and solistic manner by the unseen, offstage ensemble.
My gratitude goes to Ensemble Modern and the International Ensemble Modern Academy (of which I am a graduate) for performing this piece. In a way, the physical positioning of the two ensembles acts as a metaphor for Ensemble Modern’s nurturing of the younger generation of players.