Christian Mason (*1984) invisible threads
[6vce,6instr] 2023 Duration: 72' Text: Paul Griffiths
solos: 2SMezTBarB – Bb-clar – acc – str: 2vl.va.vc
World premiere: Witten (Wittener Tage für neue Musik), April 22, 2023
Commissioned by the city of Witten for the Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik 2023, funded by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation
I find great inspiration in the idea – and the experience – of spaces enlivened by the focus of attentive ears. In these moments of collective concentration it feels almost as though we grow invisible threads between us, connecting momentarily before we disperse back into the world. The ritual of performance is not only about the music being played, more fundamentally it is an excuse to spend time together in this special state of awareness.
During this ‘performance installation’ listeners wander freely through the spaces of the gallery, whereas performers conform to a more formalised ritual of spatial-relationships which transform across the duration of the piece. This freedom of movement allows you to bring your attention to the sounds in unpredictable ways: maybe you want to focus for a while on the special sound of the accordion… then baritone or cello… bass clarinet or soprano… the interaction between voices and violins… and later, maybe, a more global balanced view of the whole. The possibility to vary our proximity to the sound sources – to listen closely, or at a distance – is the essence of Invisible Threads.
Cohering this spatial sound-ritual is a remarkable ‘polyphonic’ text composed by Paul Griffiths, who describes it thus:
“The text is a web of words, kind of subterranean, in that meaning is largely hidden as one word flows into another by connections of sound rather than syntax. Everything flows from the word „mycelium“, and especially from its three consonantal sounds, all of which can be extended. As in actual mycelium, there are multitudinous branchings out and back in, as well as meaningful phrases emerging here and there, like fruiting bodies. These often include new consonants: “t”, “r” and “n”, for example, in “illuminates a measureless solemnity”. The generative word “mycelium”, however, is hardly used, and at no time does the text refer to the subject matter. The text preserves thereby an ignorance.” (Paul Griffiths)
The starting point for all of this was thinking about the mysterious world of fungi and mycelium, and the way in which their branching roots intertwine with tree roots to form immense, though unseen, communicative networks beneath the surface of the earth. But, as so often in creative processes, the piece grew away from its source and became this little portion of time and space in which I invite you to listen – closely or a distance – to the sounds that surround you.
(Christian Mason, 2023)
|01.||prologue (la vraie vie est ailleurs...)|
|02.||I. [somewhere else]|
|03.||interlude I [soft ground]|
|04.||II. [canon a 4]|
|05.||interlude II [glowing mushroom]|
|06.||III. [growing buds - in contrary emotion]|
|07.||IV. [the lime wood]|