Chambered Music (2007)




Chambered, as in compartmentalized and as in a limited or even locked up space.

The piece consists of “chambered” musical elements in various interpretations of the word.

Special things in the setup:

The pianist plays a sampler in the middle of the ensemble. A small speaker is placed inside a closed piano (without a player), through which is played sounds of a piano played inside (on the strings, on the metal frame, etc.) and the sounds of a muffled voice as if heard through a thick wall or a big pillow. The unrecognizable text is an excerpt from Nelson Mandelas diary, talking about the life as a prisoner. At one point in the middle of the piece, the voice gradually gets clearer for a few seconds, making understandable the words “in any prisoners life”.

Another speaker is placed at the right stage front, and through this speaker is only played sounds recorded inside a speaker. The speaker finally gets to represent itself or at least its own kind, so to speak…

The trombone player is sitting off-stage, so far away and with so many walls or doors between him and the audience, that even though he is playing as loud as possible, it is only just audible in the hall, matching the very soft dynamics of the violin. The trombone player follows the conductor with a live video-feed.

The beginning of the piece is rather loud, dense and confident, and the instruments are obviously connected by the sounds and tones, that they play together. The piece later gets extremely soft, transparent and fragile, and the very movements of the instrumentalists get to be more and more important, eventually being the “main theme” connecting the instruments and the musical lines. In the middle of the piece there is a kind of “movement cadenza”, where most of the instruments perform a “visual unison”.

Examples of chambered musical elements (apart from the locked up trombone and speaker inside the piano):
Short loops as a kind of confined time. A piccolo trumpet with a practice mute (almost closing the trumpet, making it an air chamber), constantly playing a high tone, which needs such a high pressure, that, when the tone is stopped, the air bursts out of the player – sounding even louder than the tone he played. A percussion player plays on the locks of an old suitcase, changing the music as it opens and closes. The percussion players cover jam glasses with the palms of their hands, making a “vacuum sound” when suddenly lifting the hands. Insulated boxes with metronomes making (inaudible) tuning tones and rhythms through the whole piece are played on by opening and closing the lid, revealing the sound inside. Etc.