15. March 2008

Klangraum Krems Minoritenkirche

Almost Human

Maya Beiser, Violoncello
David Cook, Tontechnik
Clifton Taylor und Stephen Arnold, Licht Design
Stephen Arnold Lichttechnik, Projektion
Evan Ziporyn: Arrangement

KHSE BUON (1980)
Chinary Ung

Joby Talbot

Tan Dun

ALL VOWS (2006)
Michael Gordon

Eve Beglarian: Komposition
Shirin Neshat: Video
Henry Michaux: Text

“You never get to see the most interesting aspects of a country. You can be sure, not to have seen them. They cover them up in fog. … They have three kinds of fog …”

Free from: Henri Michaux, “In the Land of Magic & Ici, Poddema”
The “New Yorker“ entitled her “Cello Goddess”, but Maya Beiser from Isreal is much more than a virtuoso: she is constantly extending the limits of her instruments with music from the Middle Ages up to the present. In “Almost human” she combines the past and the present in new compositions written for her and reaching back to old traditions. Her cello becomes a “voix humaine”, taking up archaic minority songs.

“Motion Detector” by the Englishman Joby Talbot (*1971) is based on central African pygmy songs. “Sparge Le Mortre” by the Australian Brett Dean (*1961) goes back to one of the bold madrigals of the Renaissance composer Carlo Gesualdo. Chinese Tan Dun (*1957)—who became popular with his film soundtrack to “Tiger and Dragon”—has taken his duet “Feige/Antiphonal Song” for cello and video from sounds of Chinese minority groups. Under the title “Khse Buon” Chinary Ung (*1942) from Cambodia follows a melody of his home country.

“Let our personal vows, pledges and oaths be considered neither vows nor pledges nor oaths.”
From “Kol nidrei”, a Jewish prayer at Yom Kippur

In “All Vows” for cello and voice, the American Michael Gordon (*1956) refers back to the Jewish prayer “Kol nidrei” and the chanter song. How many times were the Jews forced to renunciate their religion. With “Kol nidrei”, which goes back to the Middle Ages, they asked God in the Yon Kippur liturgy to undo these vows.

In “From a Far-Off Country”, three Middle Eastern women—Beiser from Israel, Iranian filmmaker and photographer Shirin Neshat (*1957) and Armenian composer Eve Beglarian (*1958)—as representatives of the three monotheistic world religions set off for unknown territory. In the letters from a far-off country by the surreal poet, drawer and traveler Henri Michaux (1899-1984) they discovered an exalted, strongly female voice. The result was a “cello opera” with a, for European ears, far-off sounding music on the melodic basis of traditional Armenian songs and with the coordinates of Persia, Greece, Turkey and Russia, Christianity and Islam swinging along.

© Merri Cyr

© Merri Cyr

© Shirin Neshat

© Shirin Neshat