„Eighteen Agents for nineteen strings“
Approaching and distancing, stretching and shrinking, condensing and thinning, ascending and falling: the latest works by Miroslav Srnka give expression to precise observations of phenomena in music, including surprising experiments and tonal explorations.
In several of his chamber music works of recent years, Miroslav Srnka has accomplished a radical new concept of musical energy flows. By potentially merging the sound apparatus of string instruments, works such as Tree of Heaven for violin, viola and violoncello (2010), the string quartet Engrams (2011) and the earlier piano quintet Pouhou vlnou (Qu’une vague) (2008) reveal the stages in a composing which take movement flows as their theme. Like natural events, phenomena are released for observation: the approaching and distancing, stretching and shrinking, condensing and thinning, ascending and falling. One such phenomenon gives the title to Hejna (Swarms) for clarinet, accordion, piano, harp and percussion (2010): the music pulsates like energy flows in moving groups, in swarms of birds or fish. The results are exciting musical processes, they cast their spell with harmonic experiments such as the combining of a chromatic and a natural micro-interval; they have moments of surprise, highlights held in readiness. The sum of this composing was expressed in the chamber opera Make No Noise (Munich 2011) and in Srnka’s musical comic Jakub Flügelbunt (2011) in a dramatic context.
Srnka is now taking the next step in freeing music from classical parameters in his new work for the Munich Chamber Orchestra, with a composing which plumbs the depths of sonority. This is once again a piece for string instruments which, from unison writing to the complete sharing out of the parts, executes curves, nodes, points in a progression which rush through a multi-dimensional space. The compositional principle closely resembles a multiple projection into different levels of perception. The music is dynamised via an abstract movement network in different filters, as if the sound is perceived by the observer in spatial movement: coming, going, approaching, distancing. Or, intended the other way round: here a sounding happening is set in motion, as if a film clip is speeded up, slowed down, played forwards, backwards, frozen in motion.
With such an approach to composing, Srnka projects forwards the experiences from the last string quartet with his scales, curves and harmonic experiments. The result of this forward projection promises a fascinating time experience in sounding space.
Marie Luise Maintz
(translation: Elizabeth Robinson)
(from [t]akte 1/2012)