The continued existence of thought in a world of threats.
The continued existence of thought in a frozen world.
Encapsulation and imprisonment of thought inside the mind.
The work is conceived in the mind and remains forever unspoken. It exists
within the dying shell of the poet and shines out to the external world.
Songpragai = to shine, in Thai.
Thinking in language.
Phonems are petrified orchestral colours of sound.
Speech/Language detaches itself from Petrification.
Speech/Language becomes audible as transition of orchestrations.
The secret Miracle
The secret Miracle is a short story by Jorge Luis Borges from his story collection Ficciones.
The story is about Jaromir Hladik, a Czek poet, who falls into the clutches by the Gestapo in 1939. As he allegedly is part of the resistance, he is sentenced to death by execution. He develops fantasies, in which he lives through the moment of execution. He prays to God to grant him one year of reprieve, so that he may finish his last novel.
Soon, however, the day of execution arrives. The instant before the soldiers raise their guns, his request is granted and the world freezes/petrifies. Hladik receives one year in this frozen/petrified world, during which he can finish his novel in his mind.
After completion he dies in a hail of bullets.
Lou is a novel by Johann Nikolaus Schneider, written in 1997.
The story´s protagonist is once more a poet. He is a traveler through time. He exists in different eras between the Middle Ages and the present. He never dies, but disappears to other divisions of history, there goes into hiding. The poems, which form a part of the novel, constitute in this context a kind of cerebral world. Their structure is very formal.
The I and the Thought
The cerebral world of the poet during the freeze of the external world is represented by two performers/speakers. The I (flute) and the Thought (Actor). The relation between the I and the Thought is the only relation, which the poet is able to construct in his one year of grace. How this relation plays out will be part of the staging, and will concern the positions and gestures of both performers.
The composer has been working with acoustic instrumental composition for several years now, influenced by his aesthetic experiences at IRCAM/Paris as well as at the experimental studio of the Heinrich-Strobel-Stiftung. The acoustic properties of all tones and sounds, which can be made by a classical instrument are understood by this, disregarding their association to classical orchestral categories. Acoustic properties are for example the spectral characteristics, the brilliance of a sound and its complexity. Pitch – if existing – as well as volume in terms of physics are also part of this framework. Within this context the composer developed a database at the experimental studio, the virtual orchestra. It catalogues many thousand instrumental sounds, their origins and acoustical properties.
Instrumental sound of language/Speech
A couple of years ago the composer developed a method to approximate the sound colour of phonems by mixing instrumental sounds, thereby using the analysis of spectral envelopes.
The first musical result was the orchestra piece Nicanor. In order to achieve a sufficient sound mix this method requires by nature a larger ensemble. However, through electro-acoustic procedures like Echo, Freezing and such, it is possible to build up an orchestration progressively from one instrument, i.e. to “verticalize” a musical sequence which plays the elements of the sound mix one after the other.
In the center of the work (from minute 27 onward), there is thus an extended flute solo, playing 20 sound sequences, one after the other. Every sound sequence is the equivalent of a phonem or a phonem-transition of the word songpragai. Songpragai is a word in Thai, meaning “shining intensely”. Every sound sequence will be verticalized through Live-Electronics, i.e. all parts of the sound sequence are heard simultaneously. The static sounds are distributed circularly in the room. After a phase of freeze of the live-electronic sounds, the sounds will begin to blend, thereby gradually making the word songpragai audible.
Spatial sound, Live Electronics
Transitions in the phonetic sound colours correspond to spatial transitions. These are easily accomplished through blending of loudspeakers. Since the flute player moves, he/she also will show phonetic transitions by occasionally “following” the movements of sound from speaker to speaker. Percussion and Violoncello remain in one place at the opposite side of the performance space. Apart from this, the concept of live electronics has been described in the paragraph Instrumental sound of language/speech..