Infinite: Miroslav Srnka’s "No Night No Land No Sky"
Miroslav Srnka’s No Night No Land No Sky for chamber orchestra, a sheer unending landscape of changing sound constellations, receives its premiere in the Philharmonie Cologne on 18 May. The work, written for the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, will be conducted by Aziz Shokhakimov. Before this, Srnka’s musical “comics”, Jakub Flügelbunt und Magdalena Rotenband oder: Wie tief ein Vogel singen kann [How low a bird can sing], for three singers and orchestra, receive three performances at the Semperoper Dresden beginning on 4 May.
In No Night No Land No Sky for chamber orchestra, Miroslav Srnka develops a seemingly unending tonal landscape, changing within itself. The classical orchestra, with double wind and timpani, becomes the place of a development repeatedly expanding from fine, focussed moments to dense, laden sound fields, then returning to the reduced texture – as if looking into an unending frozen landscape, as if attempting to focus individual contours within it, to then be lost again in the expanse, without being able to make out whether they are driving masses of snow, solid ice surfaces or simply shrouded skies.
This powerful pull of a continual developing movement is based on a dynamic harmonic field, elastically stretched in the passage of time. The treatment of the tonal forces reflects this flexible constellation: double wind and brass are handled from time to time as double parts, as if one part is played by two instruments, and sometimes a large, double-choir ensemble of soloists is created from the chamber orchestra. Or it is treated like a group of soloists in a Concerto grosso, then homogeneous tonal groups are brought together again in episodes. The chamber orchestra scoring is a challenge to develop a completely separate tonal world, which constantly generates new kinds of events and constellations. The continuous changing of the tonal space can be compared with the fluctuation between extreme temperatures, and freezing paralysis or blazing burning are evoked by the instruments in different registers and with different playing techniques. A fluctuation between states with unexpected turning points and an uncertain outcome.
Marie Luise Maintz (Translation: Elizabeth Robinson)(from [t]akte 1/2014)