I=tam-t(med)/crash cym/cym(sm,med,lg)/SD/tom-t(lo)/t.bells with pedal(C1-H1)/glsp/crot(C4,Eb4,C5); II=tam-t(med)/crash cym/cym(sm,med,lg)/3cym(muted)/metal bl/SD/tom-t(lo)/BD/t.bells with pedal(C1-H1); III=tam-t(med-lg)/cym(sm,med,lg)/4cym(muted)/SD/t.bells with pedal(C1-H1)/vib-harp-pft(=CD player)-strings(184.108.40.206.6)
"searching for the sublime" – thus the title of the series of works by Iris ter Schiphorst to which Dislokationen ("Dislocations") for orchestra with solo piano and sampler also belongs. Even just a superficial glance at the composer’s oeuvre makes it clear that this can only be an approach that is broken many times. Iris ter Schiphorst’s music is extremely far removed from the "sublime" – at any rate, in the nineteenth-century sense still used today. She shifts it into a new context – and in this way frees it from its historical ties and awe-inspiring size.
"Dislocations" – these are changes of position, displacements. The term is used in entirely diverse contexts, of which several are enumerated in a short note in the preface of the score:
"In geology it indicates a layer of rock broken by convolution, thrust fault, or fault... in the military: the disposition of troops or the deployment of units... in medicine: a pathological relocation of organs or a relocation, displacement, or twisting of bones or parts of bones in relation to one another... in linguistic sciences: a marked syntax..."
One can apply all of this to the score. There are convolutions and faults just as well as the twisting of musical figures; and "marked syntaxes," that is to say: the accentuation of certain parts of the phrase through their position in the phrase is to a certain extent commonplace in music.
Dislokationen is not a monolithic work "made in one piece." The transitions are at times hard and surprising, the cuts abrupt. And sometimes elements of popular music even break into the "symphonic" sphere. Important, says the composer, is the impression that something is "out of place." So, for example, the cadenza is in no way intended to offer the soloist a possibility to "display his prowess," but rather to convey for a moment the impression of being "somewhere else." In other words, a dislocation.
The amplification of the solo piano, orchestral piano, sampler, and individual instruments of the orchestra also serves this goal. In this way, a particular spatial effect is created. Thus, all of the piano’s inside sounds "are heard ‘voluminously’ and powerfully in the whole room from the back, conveying the impression that the orchestra is sitting and playing ‘in the piano’ or in the piano’s acoustic space/resonance space," while the amplification of several orchestral instruments serves to separate them tonally from the orchestra and group them with the piano. The piano and the sampler become siblings, "natural" and "artificial" sounds blend and become two manifestations of the same thing. Thus, redistribution also in a sonic sense.
© Rainer Pöllmann, Deutschlandradio Kultur, Artistic Director of Festival Ultraschall Berlin
Programme Note Festival Ultraschall 2011, Pfau-Verlag Saarbrücken (translation: Howard Weiner)