My involvement with audio tapes played by Giacinto Scelsi entailed a surprising realisation: that melodies – singable melodies in the traditional sense – are also possible in the smallest micro-intervallic steps. The comparatively rough transcriptions of Scelsi’s works, most of which are notated no more precisely than in quarter-tones, made this quality of the music unrecognisable. (Unfortunately, the tapes are all but inaccessible to the public).
As with my Ninth String Quartet and my piece for solo trumpet I Can’t Breathe, I am also attempting to compose micro-melodies in my Octet for eight trombones, almost didactically approaching quarter-tones and sixth-tones up to eighth-tone steps, which must be intonated meticulously.
The piece is composed for a space with a long reverberation time. The musicians must stand closely together so they can hear themselves precisely. The work is not conceived as a polyphonic tissue; rather, it is a largely homophonic mass of sound, only occasionally splitting up.
The Octet for Eight Trombones is dedicated to my partner Mollena Williams. Her energy, her vitality, the richness of her personality, have influenced the music (so I hope), along with the spirituality of our relationship.
Georg Friedrich Haas