> Information on the Moving Sounds Festival 2010


Richard Strauss (performed by the Argento Chamber Ensemble) – METAMORPHOSEN for string orchestra (concert performance)

Georg Friedrich Haas (performed by the Argento Chamber Ensemble) – UNHEIMAT for string orchestra (concert performance)

Conductor: Michel Galante


Edmund Campion FLOW-DEBRIS-FALLS a concerto for AvantGrand electronic keyboard and 19 musicians 20min (WORLD PREMIERE)

Soloist: Joanna Chao

Conductor: Jonathan Yates


Flow-Debris-Falls may be the first full-length concerto for digital piano, computer and large ensemble. The piece was composed for Argento and features the new Yamaha AvantGrand digital piano combined with interactive computer software designed by composer Edmund Campion. Argento pianist, Joanna Chao performs the “hyper-instrument” to produce material derived from inside and outside the piano. The soloist and electronic parts, generated in real-time, move seamlessly with the 17 acoustic instruments. In three continuous movements, FLOW offers an engaging and at times whimsical retake on the traditional concerto form.

The word “Heimat“, which translates approximately into the words “motherland” or “homeland”, had a politically neutral meaning before World War II. But ever since the Nazis adapted this term in their propaganda, it has had a somewhat sinister connotation associated with German nationalism gone completely awry. In autobiographical terms, this work deals with the alienation Haas has faced vis-a-vis his own “Heimat” (the country of Austria,) and vis-a-vis his countries of residence and employment (Germany and Switzerland). In musical terms, UNHEIMAT is a dramatic musical structure for solo double bass and three separate string sextets, which are spatialized around the performance space.

Metamorphosen is a work for 23 solo strings, truly a masterpiece of the art of composition, which Strauss completed in 1945. It was written shortly after the devastation of the Munich Opera House due to aerial bombardments. Metamorphosen transports the personal melancholic and tragic emotion Strauss had to face at this time. A passage of the Marcia Funébre of Beethoven´s Eroica Symphony is the primary motivic element. A long Adagio is followed by a faster middle section that completes the complex texture of the rich polyphony.

Composer Edmund Campion (*1957 in Dallas, Texas) completed his doctoral thesis in composition at Columbia University and spent several years in France studying with Gérard Grisey. In 1993 he was selected to work at IRCAM where he composed Losing Touch for vibraphone and tape. Many of Campion’s works explore the relationships between sound and space-explorations often born of extra-musical inspirations or thoughts.

Austrian spectral composer Georg Friedrich Haas (* Graz, 1953) has been teaching counterpoint, contemporary composition techniques, analysis, and introduction to microtonal music at the Musikhochschule in Graz since 1978, first as university lecturer, later as professor. In 1997, he took a sabbatical to be able to dedicate himself completely to composing. Since 2005 Haas has taught composition classes at the Conservatory of Music of the City of Basel Music Academy.

It is the remarkable multifacetedness that makes Haas’ music so fascinating. His works are filled with a dramaturgy of sound that reveals itself to the listener very directly, and above all nonverbally. They attest to a penetration of profane life with what can only be referred to as a mystical power of sound, a unification of the pleasant and the rough, the exuberant and the ugly, in a world of sound where dissonance represents the measure of all things rather than consonance. Haas is convinced that “the various musical traditions are not looking for conformity with the proportions of the partial tone series, but rather are trying to depart from it.” It’s not about union, but dissonance, he says. According to Haas, abstract chord develops its own independent quality, says Haas, and therein lies the compositional conclusion (Lisa Farthofer, www.musicaustria.at).

Works by Haas were featured in the Moving Sounds Festival 2009, and the composer and his oeuvre were also part of the Spring 2009 ACFNY-Composer Series. Photo of Georg Friedrich Haas by Universal Edition AG.

Related article: “Disconcerting Perfection: Georg Friedrich Haas”, by Bernhard Guenther, Transforum 4



The Argento Chamber Ensemble is the performance arm of the Argento New Music Project. The ensemble performs compositions that embody pressing musical concerns in Western music. Consisting of nine core members, the ensemble regularly expands to perform and record chamber orchestra works of up to 30 musicians. They have toured widely in the US and abroad, in festivals including the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, the International Festival of Spectral Music/ Istanbul, the American Festival of Microtonal Music, the Sounds French Festival, the Kilkenny Arts Festival/ Ireland, and Shanghai´s International Festival of Electroacoustic Music. Argento has worked closely with leading composers such as Pierre Boulez, Tania Leon, Tristan Murail, Elliott Carter, Philippe Hurel, Gerard Pésson, Joshua Fineberg, and Philippe Leroux.




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Sep 03 2010

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