en: Zeichenstaub for string trio
de: Zeichenstaub für Streichtrio

UA 18. September 2010 Arnstadt
publ: 2013 Lienau, mit CD

Halcyon - Allegro energico
Ethereal - Adagio tranquillo
Pointilliste - Moderato
Perpetuum - Allegro con moto

en: Zeichenstaub, for string trio, was written for the Hepp family of Cologne. The title (literally: symbol-dust) is taken from a poem written by Damian Hosp (alias Kaspar Hepp) which in its turn was written in response to an early black and white photograph of a skier. The poem describes the curving tracks carved out by the skis and the powdery snow thrown up in the wake of the skier as he negotiates a steep slope of fresh snow. The idea of clear lines set against blurred textures as suggested by this intriguing word was a starting point in the composition of the piece. The initials of the four movements of Zeichenstaub add up to the name of the dedicatees, the Hepp family of Cologne. The initials of the movements, HEPP, add up to their names. Originally intended for young players, the material seemed to outgrow its original intentions and the work developed into a four movement concert piece.

Each movement is more or less mono-thematic, exploring a single gestus within its own sound-world. The first movement, robust, and mostly in the Doric mode, opens with a terse motive of rising fifths, set against syncopated, open fifths in the violin. Halcyon (as in "Halcyon days") refers to a period of confidence and optimism before impending doom. The second movement is a study in otherworldliness and weightlessness and consists almost entirely of harmonics, pizzicato and glissandi. The perfect intervals of fourth, fifth and octave dominate the string writing. The third movement, pizzicato throughout, aims to re-create in musical terms the painting technique of Pointillism, using the juxtaposition of unrelated chords to create a bright and vivid harmonic tableau. Techniques such as string-slapping, portamenti and double-stopping enhance the palette of sonorities. In the final movement, quasi moto perpetuo, the material continually transforms and re-invents itself with an urgency and rhythmic drive that finally leads the work to an energetic close.

de: Das Streichtrio wurde ursprünglich für junge Spieler der Kölner Familie Hepp komponiert. Die Initialen der Sätze, HEPP, ergeben ihren Namen. Das Stück entwickelte sich zu einem viersätzigen Konzertstück. Jeder Satz beleuchtet mono-thematisch einen „Gestus“ in einer ihm eigenen Klangwelt. Der 1. Satz basiert auf einem knappen Motiv in aufsteigenden Quinten, gesetzt gegen synkopierte leere Quinten in der Violine. Der 2. Satz ist eine Flageolett-Studie im pianissimo-Bereich, der 3. Satz eine Pizzicato-Studie in Techniken wie "string-slapping", glissandi, Doppel- und Tripel-Griffe, in der die Maltechnik Pointillismus durch die Zusammenstellung heller unzusammenhängender Akkorde auf die Musik übertragen wird. Im letzten Satz, fast Moto Perpetuo, wird das musikalische Material in ständiger Verwandlung in rhythmischem Vorwärtsdrang zu einem energischen Abschluss geführt.

Did you know … that composer Graham Waterhouse was the cellist in a performance of his string trio Zeichenstaub at his former school, playing the U.K. premiere with two members of the Münchner Philharmoniker?
(Wikipedia recent additions 19 April 2013)