Time and Transience – Composition Commission issued to Jan Esra Kuhl

Anton-Webern-Chor Freiburg

Under the heading Zeit und Vergänglichkeit three pieces of work will be thematically linked in a concert: Luciano Berio’s lied Canticum novissimi testamenti, Johann Sebastian Bach’s early cantata Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit and a commissioned work issued with the support of the EvS Music Foundation to the young composer Jan Esra Kuhl. Berio’s lied for four clarinets, four saxophones and eight voices written between 1989 and 1991 is based on a text by the poet Edoardo Sanguineti who died in 2010. In a radical way Sanguineti focalizes the transience of time. Bach’s cantata is also based on this theme, though upturning the natural perception of time in an act of faith. Both pieces have virtually the same physical duration in terms of time. By adding the distant clarinets to the vocals and saxophone quartet  Berio achieves through the spatial distance an iridescence between the tonal levels – thereby producing a special new quality of sound while at the same time mapping a fluctuation between the conscious and unconscious levels. This hitherto probably unique sound constellation is further pursued in the commissioned piece by Jan Esra Kuhl who was a pupil in Jörg Widmann’s composition class. 


October 21st and 22nd 2011 
Villingen and Freiburg