Nue für Klavier solo mit Ensemble und persönlichen Erinnerungen der Spieler (2017)


7 september 2017 18:30

Nue für Klavier solo mit Ensemble und persönlichen Erinnerungen der Spieler (2017, premiere) 
Yukiko Watanabe (JPN 1983)

Squeeze Machine (2017, premiere)
Genevieve Murphy (GBR 1988)

SONG & DANCE: An excessively elaborate effort to explain or justify
(2017, premiere)
Maya Verlaak (BEL 1990)

und (2017, premiere)
Componist Utku Asuroglu (TUR 1986)

International Ensemble Modern Academy

Takuya Otaki, Piano
Jonathan Weiss, Flute
Hyun Jung Kim, Clarinet
Naoko Kikuchi, Koto
Mathias Lachenmayr, Percussion
HannaH Walter, Violin
Benoît Morel, Viola
Bernhard Rath, Cello
Yalda Zamani, Lucas Vis, Conductor
Alexander Kolb, Sound Director


The title of Yukiko Watanabe’s latest piece refers to the nue, an imaginary mythical creature of the class of Yōkai (in the same way that a sparrow belongs to the class of birds) from Japanese folklore. The creature appears in the Heike Monogatari, an epic saga from the end of the twelfth century. In terms of composition the nue shows a slight resemblance to the Greek chimera, only with the face of an ape, the legs of a tiger, the body of a Japanese raccoon dog and the front half of a snake for a tail. The sound it makes resembles that of the scaly thrush, and is said to represent a bad omen. The image of the nue was for Watanabe primarily the starting point. The double meaning of the word ‘yōkai’ is more directly connected with the atmosphere of the piece. Watanabe explains that it consists of two ‘kanji,’ Japanese characters that indicate ‘bewitching, attractive, calamity’, while also meaning ‘spectre, apparition, mystery, suspicious.’
She also talks about her fascination with the history of music, and how it has been written primarily from the viewpoint of the composer rather than that of the performer, whilst a performer has a considerable influence on what is ultimately heard: ‘There are so many different interpretations of the piece: for me it is a kind of big monster that keeps growing up forever.’
A further influence on Nue is the Japanese Mono-ha art movement of the late 1960s: ‘The artists tended to present mostly found or natural materials or everyday objects. I’m very interested in this concept, and in this work tried to deal not with visible objects but with “private unknown memories” as an important key material.’ The subtitle also refers to this: ‘For piano solo with ensemble and private memories of the players.’ Watanabe worked in close cooperation with the musicians of the International Ensemble Modern Academy and collected personal photos from them, which are projected during the piece. Everyday images, almost casual.
‘Photography,’ she writes, ‘is always a part of something; through photography we see time condensed but I will try to extract the time again and to flow along with it.’ In this piece, the Goldberg Variations of Johann Sebastian Bach act as her nue, her monster. She treats Bach’s work as a framework for the players’ memories: ‘Our private memory is normally invisible and sometimes even inexplicable, but it does undeniably exist in our mind’s eye.’ So Watanabe places the players’ photos within a collective musical memory - Bach’s Goldberg Variations - and they thus perform not only the music but also themselves.