Chaya Czernowin: Six Miniatures And A Simultaneous Song

Catching a thought as it transforms -

three related pieces


While each of the pieces on this CD is independent, the two later pieces are also a re-contextualization of elements of the 1997 piece Shu Hai mitamen behatalat kidon.

One of the texts in the second movement of Shu Hai mitamen behatalat kidon (Shu Hai practices javelin) is the text “I believe that beyond these bushes I could bathe in warm cisterns” by Zohar Eitan.

In Shu Hai practices javelin this text does not receive undivided attention; rather, it is used only in parts, braided with 2 other poems and is subverted through speech modulations . In the Six miniatures and a simultaneous song, the trio part is an interpretation of this poem. This time around, the poem is the only text, and it is heard in its entirety, without alterations .

Shu Hai in an orchestral setting takes the second movement of Shu Hai practices javelin, and places it in an orchestral context. The orchestral piece is by no means an orchestration or a variation of Shu Hai practices javelin. It is a stark recontextualization, which transforms the vocal piece into a completely
different arena, where it is allowed to discover radically different meanings and overtones.

Six miniatures and a simultaneous song for a trio: voice, viola and guitar; and a quartet: bass
flute, bass clarinet, alto saxophone and cello.

Commissioned by ELISION, Australia.

Text: “I believe that beyond these bushes I could bathe in warm cisterns” by Zohar Eitan.

Two very different pieces unfolding as a counterpoint to each other, merging into a strange third piece. The trio is a fragile line-texture, very continuous, refined and highly articulated. The quartet is discontinuous, abrupt, boisterous, crude, at times grotesquely expressive. Together they emerge into a
lopsided structure where their different weights, expressions, and dynamics interact. A tiny fish and a person in a large pool. Do their movements effect each other? The water? The quartet music of this piece is used, with slight variations in the introduction to Pnima...ins Innere. The piece is dedicated to ensemble Elision .

Shu Hai in an orchestral setting for voice, nine recorded versions of the same voice, orchestra and live electronics (2000-2001).

Co-commissioned by Musikprotokoll in Steirischer Herbst, Austrian Radio (ORF), Graz Austria, 2001, and by the Freie Akademie Bern for the first Biennale Bern 2001, Switzerland.

This piece uses the second movement of the vocal piece Shu Hai mitamen behatalat kidon and brings it into a dialogue with new orchestral material. The very fragile, intimate and reduced poetic fabric of the original Shu Hai mitamen behatalat kidon second movement is juxtaposed with very raw, unruly and
grotesque bouts of the orchestral material. Where the vocalpiece is the crystallized poetry, which comes after an experience has become memory, the orchestra piece is a raw experience still not congealed into categorized clarified form. While the voice is split into an orchestra of internal voices, the orchestra is unified into a magnified “voice”. This voice is a huge and heavy physical presence, pushing, lifting - a relentless gesture on the still background of the large panels of Shu Hai practices javelin. The piece is dedicated to Dieter Schnebel.

Shu Hai Mitamen Behatalat Kidon (Shu Hai practices javelin) (1996-97) for solo female voice, nine versions of the same voice on tape, and live electronics in two movements.

Commissioned by …Éclat Stuttgart 98, South West German Radio.

This is an attempt at creating musical form that could be best described as distilled, nonlinear poetry. The piece is written for the singer - vocalist Ute Wassermann. It is especially tailored to - and is inspired by - Ute's individual, multi - dimensional and unique voice and vocal expression; which was developed through her involvement with improvisation.

In Shu Hai mitamen behatalat kidon, a field of vocal behaviors is created - on the one hand, the voice is unrefined and close to an uncensored raw physical expression of emotions, but yet, the voice is forced and cut into extremely controlled, almost unnaturally short temporal formal segments which call the wild emotional expression into question. The tension and the friction created by the wildness of the
material and its relationship to the controlled, tight form, inform and mold the piece. The text consists of 9 poems by the Israeli poet Zohar Eitan. Each of the poems is a torn and polyphonic structure, where memory, recognition, direct experience and self-observation interact with each other in a variety of ways. In the musical composition, especially in the first movement, this polyphony of the text within a
single poem is interpolated to the relationship between the different poems, as they cut, comment and illuminate each other in an imaginary inner space (inner theater). The name of the piece comes from a poem which is not used in the composition but is the closest example, and the direct inspiration to, the torn form especially of the first part (see the English translation by the poet). The second movement is the heart of a reflective internality, where intense emotions are brought to their utmost embryonic purified forms, where material has become distilled to such extent that nothing but the most essential can leave its mark. At the same time this mark itself is frozen and stylized vials of petrified
emotions. The piece is dedicated to Ute Wassermann.

-Chaya Czernowin

Chaya Czernowin was born (December 7th, 1957) and raised in Israel. Since the age of 25, she has resided in Germany, Japan, and the United States. Various scholarships and prizes supported these years, in which Czernowin was able to concentrate on forming her musical language and thought.

Her first solo CD, Afatsim , which summorized her chamber work from 1988-96, was released by Mode Records (mode 77) in 1999. In 2000 her opera, PNIMA...ins innere was premiered at the Munich Biennale to strong audience and critical acclaim. A non-linear experience, sonically and emotionally in tense in its non-operatic sparseness, PNIMA deals with the question of the impossibility of communicating an ungraspable traumatic experience, in this case the Jewish holocaust. PNIMA was chosen for the best premier of 2000 by Opernwelt and won the Bayerische Theater Preis in 2000.

Chaya Czernowin has taught composition at the Yoshiro Irino Institute, JML, Tokyo, Japan; the Darmstadt Ferienkurse, (where she won the Kranichsteiner prize in 1992) and in numerous masterclasses. Beginning in 2003,she will teach a biannual composition Mastercourse at Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany. She is an Associate Professor in the composition faculty of the University of California, San Diego. Ms. Czernowin's music is published exclusively by Schott.

Upcoming projects include: a performance of the piece Maim Zarim, Maim Gnuvim (strange water, stolen water) for a large orchestra, a quintet of soloists and live electronics in the Donaueschingen Festival, 2002; Winter Songs, chamber music for Ensemble Intercontemporain and IRCAM technology (Paris, 2003).

The basel sinfonietta was founded in 1980 by a group of young musicians with the goal of bringing exciting new combinations of contemporary music and works, both familiar and unknown, to an audience enthusiastic for unusual sounds and open to experimentation.  With its unconventional, provocative approach , this large symphony orchestra has achieved a considerable international reputation. In recent years, the basel sinfonietta has profiled itself as an innovative and flexible orchestra with outstanding projects as Decasia, an environmental symphony with projections by New York composer Michael Gordon. The Swiss composer Mela Meierhans accompanied them during the last concert season as Composer in Residence with her work différance I-V. In September 2001, the work Atempause from German composer Carola Bauckholt, a commission for the European Month of Music 2001, had its first performance. In its relatively short history, the basel sinfonietta has also carried out numerous performances with dancers, jazz musicians, cabaret performer and choral groups in addition to complex projects incorporating, for instance, silent movies and multimedia.

Invitations to festivals include Lucerne Festival, Biennale di Venezia, Musica Strasbourg, Tage für Neue Musik Zürich, Festival díAutomne á Par is, and Klangspuren (Austria ) complete the multifarious concert projects.

The orchestra works together with internationally active guest conductors who are invited depending on the style and staging of the project: Emilio Pomàrico, Muhai Tang, Kasper de Roo, Matthias Bamert, Jürg Wyttenbach, Olaf Henzold, Jürg Henneberger, Johannes Kalitzke, Reinbert de Leeuw, Julia Jones, Peter Rundel.

Vocal artist Ute Wassermann is a composer/ performer, improviser and interpreter of contemporary music. She studied at the Hamburg Academy of Fine Arts, specializing in sound installation and vocal performance, and studied classical singing with Carol Plantamura (San Diego) and Arnold van Mill (Hamburg). Since 1984 she has developed many special multivoiced vocal techniques, catalogued by
register, timbre and articulative sequences, which may be deconstructed and/or superimposed and used to explore spatial resonance phenomena. She has given numerous performances of her own solo work and performs regularly with many improvising musicians, including duos with Richard Barrett (live
electronics) and Matthias Kaul (percussion), in venues ranging from international festivals to lofts. She has collaborated frequently with composers who have created works especially for her voice, including Henning Christiansen, Richard Barrett, Chaya Czernowin, Hans-Joachim Hespos, Sven-Åke Johansson, and has performed with many ensembles including ASKO, Elision and Kammerensemble Neue Musik Berlin.

Zohar Eitan (b.1955), a poet, composer, and music theorist, teaches music theory at Tel Aviv University. His poetry collection, Shu Hai practices javelin was published in 1997.

ELISION is Australia's premier New Music Ensemble. Since its formation in 1986, the ensemble has established an international profile for innovative projects in the areas of contemporary opera, site-specific installation, improvisation and new music performance. 14 compact discs and 34 international commissions have now been supported by organizations in England, Canada, Holland, France and Japan.

International concert and recording engagements include performances for the Hebbel Theatre of Berlin, Zuercher TheatreSpektakel, Saitama Arts Theatre, Wien Modern, Huddersfield Festival, the Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Radio Bremen, the Ars Musica Festival of Brussels, the Ultima Festival and Ny Musikk.

Johannes Kalitzke was born in 1959 in Cologne, Germany. His first engagement as a conductor was in 1984 at the “Musiktheater im Revier (Music Theater in the District )” in Gelsenkirchen, where he was chief conductor from 1988 to 1990. Beyond that he became the director of the „Forum für Neue Musik" (Forum for New Music) succeeding Carla Henius. In 1991 he became the artistic director of the „Musikfabrik" (Music Factory) of the Landesensemble of North Rhine-Westphalia. Since then he has also been active as a guest conductor of ensembles (including Klangforum Wien, and Collegium Novum Zurich) and of orchestras such as, the symphony orchestras of the NDR (North German Radio), the SWF (Southwest German Radio) and the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) as well as the basel sinfonietta. As a guest conductor his venues included the Salzburger Festspiele, the Wiener Festwochen, the Munich Biennale and the Dresdner Festspiele, as well as tours of Russia, Japan and America.

Numerous CD-recordings have complemented his activity as a performer of classical and contemporary music. As a composer, Kalitzke received numerous awards including the Bernd-Alois-Zimmermann-Prize of the City of Cologne and had successes with Ensembles like the London Sinfonietta, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Klangforum Wien, and orchestras like the Symphony Orchestra of the SWF. Since 1996 he has been teaching at the Ferienkurse (summer courses) in Darmstadt.

His music theater piece Bericht vom Tod des Mantra was a contribution to the Munich Biennale in 1996.  His second opera, Molière oder die Henker des Komödianten was a commission by the state of Schleswig-Holstein and was premiered in 1998 in Bremen.  He received a grant in 2000 for a stay at the Villa Massimo in Rome.

The Experimental Studio of the Heinrich Strobel Foundation of the Southwest-Radio pursues the path of uniting art and technology in a spirit of active dialogue. Generally, compositions with electronics come about here as collaborations between composers and technicians. For this reason, the studio is equipped with a full-time staff of technical specialists. The Heinrich Strobel Foundation also provides
composers grants which make it possible for them to work with the technicians in the studio, either to generally expand their artistic and technological horizons or to produce specific compositional projects.

In addition to research and studio productions, the preparation and execution of public performances is an important aspect of the Freiburg Experimental-Studio. Composers from a wide range of musical styles and orientations have produced works with the live electronics which are performed by the Experimental-Studio in collaboration with performers, ensembles and orchestras on festivals and concerts throughout Europe.



Mantra (Stockhausen), Prometeo, Quando stanno morendo Diario Polacco No. 2, Risonanze Erranti, Caminantes...Ayacucho, etc. (Nono), explosante/fixe (Boulez), Wandlungen (Nunes), Pianophonie (Serocki), Noche pasiva del sentido (Halffter),  Time and Motion Study (Ferneyhough) are already part of the lasting repertory of 20th century music.