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for symphony orchestra

Commissioned by the Musikkollegium Winterthur

Premiere May 11, 2016 Stadthaus Winterthur

Musikkollegium Winterthur

Michael Sanderling, Director


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We did not know his outrageous head,

in which the eyeballs ripened. but

his torso still glows like a candelabra,

in which his gaze, only screwed back,


holds up and shines. Otherwise the bug couldn't

the breast blind you, and in the soft turning

the loins could not walk a smile

to that center which carried procreation.


Otherwise this stone would stand distorted and short

under the shoulders transparent fall

and did not flicker like the hides of beasts of prey;


and would not break out from all its edges

out like a star: for there is no place

who doesn't see you You have to change your life.


Rainer Maria Rilke: Archaic torso of Apollo







A hundred years after the tumultuous premiere of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, Rilke wrote this poem in Paris in 1908, which aptly reflects the vision of the orchestral work EROSION.

Beethoven's music is full of light and clarity. It outshines over two centuries, and even two world wars and the destructive zeitgeist that followed were unable to scratch this music. She exudes superhuman strength and an unwavering belief in goodness.


It was a magnet for people during Beethoven's lifetime, and it is today as well, although the possible motives for the composition - the desire to sweep Napoleon away, the acceptance of the progressive hearing ailment - have long since become irrelevant.

But what if this Apollonian music is subject to the aging process like everything else that appears anywhere and anytime in the universe? I took this attractive thought as an opportunity to explore the beauty of aging musically.


In our society, aging tends to have negative connotations, and a thriving industry thrives on erasing the marks of aging. 

In the process, people forget how beautiful aging can be, also in an aesthetic sense. Just think of a hundred-year-old oak tree full of furrows or a rock face that has been layered over millions of years and is all the more impressive due to weathering. Not to mention a good wine that increases in complexity and value with age.


Aging is undoubtedly a process of decay with the aim of complete dissolution. But the way there can unleash unexpected wonders, dreams and treasures. Erosion attacks the painted surface, revealing dormant, never-before-seen jewels beneath.  


During the implementation work to let Beethoven's symphony of fate age naturally, something different than originally planned actually came about. Therein lies the attraction of composing: the transformation of the original plan into something new, controlled by the creative power of intuition, which can never be fully understood.


Driven by Beethoven's intelligence, strength and beauty, another "Symphony of Fate" was created, somehow connected to the 200-year-old model, but still detached, cut off from the umbilicus. A three-part time vision of the earth emerged:  


PULSAR dreams of the formation of the planet, 

TORSO from the seemingly eternal traces of evolution,

HALL, finally, from the memory of everything.





the shade














L'homme armé: Agnus Dei

press echo


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