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New Composition by Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf in Melbourne


The Australian ensemble ‘Elision’ together with Peter Veale (oboe obbligato), the dedicatee of the work, will perform the world premiere of the 2013 composition “Hommage au hautbois” by Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf on 9 September 2016 during the course of the concert “An Ocean Beyond Earth” in Melbourne. The international ensemble for contemporary music ‘Elision’ has been active since 1986; its music director is Daryl Buckley.

Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf comments on his “Hommage au hautbois”:
“The oboe plays a central role in my music. As a ‘vox humana’ instrument it is, alongside the violoncello, my favourite instrument. My first ambitious solo work, Monade (1985/86), was written for the oboe. My most ambitious ‘poly-work’ is a concerto for oboe and chamber orchestra (Medusa [1990-1992]). I have written Solitude-Nocturne (1992/93) and Solitude-Sérénade (1997) for the piccolo oboe, a duo with piano (Illuminations du brouillard [1992/93]) and with live electronics (W.A.S.T.E. [2002] and W.A.S.T.E. 2 [2002]). From 1987 until 1994, Peter Veale and I wrote the standard work ‘Die Spieltechnik der Oboe’ (The Technique of Playing the Oboe), the first comprehensive representation of the oboe, especially of multiphonics. Peter Veale, one of the leading oboists of our time, is one of my oldest musical friends.
Thus over the course of time, the idea of dedicating a work to the oboe and Peter Veale ripened within me. The homage is also to Peter Veale, who is performing the world premiere. The chamber ensemble scoring is unusual but has a certain logic: two identical instruments (clarinet, also bass clarinet), two instruments of the same family (trumpet and trombone) and two instruments that can be considered special instruments in the orchestra: electric guitar and percussion. The oboe stands alone. One could say: three couples and a single person: one can imagine the group situation on a shared journey. The couples play sometimes very clear, at other times rather hidden canons. They determine the course of events. The oboe appears a number of times belatedly and is then cut off by the others. But then these others lose their energy and literally sink into an ever deeper place whilst the oboe retains its brilliant high register. The six musicians are exhausted at the end and the oboe plays a grand final solo. To a certain extent it wins, but is alone - which is, however, a musical advantage.
In the Greek polis, e.g. in ancient Athens, the practice of ostracism (ostrakismos) was carried out. The citizens could, by order, ban the unpopular person who was most frequently named, on broken clay fragments. In my piece, it is the oboe which is banned. But as was said before, this is a musical advantage.”

The work “Hommage au hautbois” will be soon available as printed edition SIK 8746.

9 September 2016
Recital Centre, 7:30 PM
World premiere: Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf
“Hommage au hautbois”. A musical ostracism for oboe
obbligato and ensemble
Peter Veale (oboe)
Ensemble Elision


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