Passages - Arcades for chamber ensemble by Johannes X. Schachtner in Munich

The work was written almost eight years ago and waited a long time for its premiere. Now Johannes X. Schachtner's new piece “Arcades” for chamber ensemble (after Walter Benjamin) is to be performed for the first time with the ensemble risonanze erranti under the direction of Peter Tilling on 29 January 2022 in Munich (venue: Schwere Reiter).

Johannes X. Schachtner gives us an insight into the background to the creation of the work and tells us of his relationship to the great philosopher and essayist Walter Benjamin, with whom the Sikorski composer Peter Ruzicka also dealt extensively in his opera "Benjamin”.

“‘Passages’ (Arcades) for obbligato cello and small ensemble was written in autumn 2014. A few years before that, my works often revolved around actual quotations from music history or were partly poly-stylistically designed, then for a time very reduced works were created, I was increasingly preoccupied with the aura and the effect of sound - in this work, for example, it is a simple third-octave pendulum that is heard in the first third and from which the work seems to develop. 

A well-known quotation from Walter Benjamin’s opus magnum ‘Passagen-Werk’ (Arcades Project) hung over my desk while I was working on this piece, which lasted a good 20 minutes. My work ‘Passages’ (Arcades) is based on only a few musical motifs, gestures and harmonic fields; it is a work of constant, small and large transitions, of closeness and distance, but always allows for an almost romantic aura. Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) writes in his Arcades Project: ‘Trace and aura. The trace is the appearance of a proximity, however distant that which it left behind may be. The aura is the appearance of a distance, however close that may be which it evokes. In the trace we get hold of the thing; in the aura it takes hold of us.’” 

Photo: Walter Benjamin

29.01.2022
Munich
World premiere
Johannes X. Schachtner 
“Passagen” (Arcades) for chamber ensemble and obbligato cello 
Ensemble risonanze erranti
Conductor: Peter Tilling
Venue: Schwere Reiter

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