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I was impressed and fascinated by Louis Malle's film of the same title (1975) - the way he applied the principles of 'écriture automatique' of the early surrealists (Breton, Soupault) to cinematography. As a result, he did completely without logical strands of plot and used instead chains of ideas in free association (fragile, introverted scenes are followed unexpectedly by nightmarish, upsetting passages). I attempted to translate the basic atmosphere (or rather, the feelings the film evoked in me) into musical gestures.
Of all the instruments, the character of the bass clarinet appeared to me to be best suited for that purpose - with its manifold registers, timbres and possibilities (from velvety restraint right up to the virtuosic-aggressive). However, soon enough I developed the process further based on purely musical considerations, whereby the idea of linking small cells and developing them in an associative manner continued to play an important role.
Black Moon was composed in the spring of 1998 on a commission from the Province of Tyrol for the festival Klangspuren and is dedicated to Ernesto Molinari.
Johannes Maria Staud