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An introduction to Schlünz’s music
... Sounds, that rise up into the silence
by Felicitas Nicolai

Annette Schlünz has developed a sensitive and subtle musical language of delicate fragility. Her music consciously dispenses with virtuoso lustre and, instead, cultivates a restrained and colourful splendour in which tones and sounds rise up into the silence or originate from it. Using advanced playing techniques, the sounds become a microcosmos, fanning out all their elements in perpetual motion, and opening a gateway to another world, engendered from within.

The principle running through all of Schlünz’s music is - poetry. It is the outlook on the world that transfigures and transforms, that generates music from the refractions and moods of the day. In this, the composer subjects herself freely to an asceticism, for which Anton Webern is the model. Despite the interwoven fabric of symbolic numbers in many musical details, despite the rational formal constructions, her musical ideas behave rather as living things which elude mental control by beginning to grow during the process of composition, independently, like nuclei.

Annette Schlünz has composed nearly 50 works in all genres: soli, chamber music, the orchestral work Picardie (1991/92), pieces for live performances on electronic and various other instruments, and several dramatic works, including the chamber opera Matka (based on the play by Karel Capek, Die Mutter), and the children’s opera Un Jour d’été (1996), with a libretto by Pierre Garnier.

In the early 1980s, Annette Schlünz concentrated mainly on chamber music. Her second string quartet dates from this period - An eine Vernunft (1982), based on texts by Arthur Rimbaud. Here, the composer reveals one of her sources of inspiration for the first time: poetry - the power of the images of poetic language - and euphony, particularly of the French language.

Annette Schlünz aspires to the concentrated and imaginative use of elemental material - frequently only a single chord, an interval or a motif, which are woven together using symbolism, numerical or otherwise - and this is handled in a way that drives the music towards its new frontiers. On the one hand, the sounds grow out of silence, as in Fadensonnen. Music for 17 instruments (1993), while on the other hand an orgiastic delight in music-making is unleashed in the orchestral work Picardie (1992), recalling Varèse’s unbridled musical exuberance. In this respect, Annette Schlünz’s chamber opera Matka (1987/88) represents both the starting point and the first culmination of her biographical and artistic paths, which are continuing to open up in all directions.

© Felicitas Nicolai, 1998

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