Review (selection)London Sinfonietta/Pavilions: New Music Show 2@ Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, 5 November 2011, by Stephen Crowe.
…Iris ter Schiphorst's new piece 'Zerstören' was entirely confident, and mature in its conception:the ensemble was performing this time as a unit, and with a clear sense of purpose and form. A rough and shaggy sound-world, 'Zerstören' moved with focussed drama, abandoning the facile atmospheric swamps of the previous two works.
Iris ter Schiphorst: Goose Girl premiere staging in Vienna and Berlin
Iris ter Schiphorst's new opera for young audiences, Die Gänsemagd (The Goose Girl), was premiered in February by Vienna Pocket Opera, touring to Berlin's new Radialsystem V arts venue.
Based on a Grimm fairy tale with a libretto by Helga Utz, the hour-long opera has a 'pocket-size' cast of four singers and an actor/dancer and was praised in Die Tageszeitung for the â€œwit of the text, music and staging. Though the goose girl is one of the most poetic and sad of Grimmsâ€™ fairy stories, it was a real eye-opener that so many humorous sparks flyâ€¦ The children showed their appreciation at the end with enthusiastic foot stamping.â€
â€œThe secret of The Goose Girlâ€™s success is â€“ honestly â€“ new music. Although Iris ter Schiphorst composes on the borders of tonality, she has mastered the genial trick of ensuring accessibility and recognition through the repetition of individually skewed and oblique arioso phrases.â€
â€œScored for keyboard, cello, bass clarinet and accordion, the fairy tale is related by the â€˜falseâ€™ goose girl in fine and merry fashion… All the characters are convincingly portrayed: the innocently trusting princess, her caring mother, the overbearing ladyâ€™s maid who pays the price for her social climbing, the clumsy bridegroom, his fat-bellied father and, naturally, the faithful horse.â€
â€˜Vergeben: BruchstÃ¼cke zu Edgar VarÃ¨seâ€™ for brass, percussion and pianoâ€œThe â€˜Doubleâ€™ theme was tackled in multi-faceted variations and aesthetic approaches by Iris ter Schiphorst in her Vergeben/BruchstÃ¼cke zu Edgar VarÃ¨se (Forgiving / Fragments on Edgar VarÃ©se), a work of dynamic consistency.â€(Gerhard Rohde, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 5 November 2007)â€˜ZerstÃ¶renâ€™ for orchestraAn impressive premiereSiegen. (Loh) Hans-Heinrich Grosse-Brockhoff, State Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, put it in a nutshell when he paid his compliments: one for â€œthis Brahmsâ€ that had concluded the 50th anniversary concert of the South Westphalian Philharmonic Orchestra and one for the courage to venture a premiere at this festive concert in the GlÃ¤ser Hall.It was made possible by the support of the Art Foundation North-Rhine Westphalia. Iris ter Schiphorst, born in 1956, had entitled her commission â€œZerstÃ¶ren IIâ€.The characteristic style of this work is surely unsettling â€“ if it is also destructing is a question that must remain open. The answer certainly depends on the circumstances under which the music is heard. During the final rehearsal in the morning, the sampled electronic sounds were much more in the background. As a result, completely different associations came to mindâ€¦ There was a strong impression of new life evolving while in pain â€“ â€˜embryonicâ€™ sounds diverging in various directions, thus representing inner turmoil. In the intense concert atmosphere, the music sounded more aggressive, if hardly destructive. The aesthetic form held the diverging elements together, so much so that even an almost peaceful ending seemed possible â€“ less as a reminiscence of what had been before than as an agreement with what was to come at the end of the process. According to the conductor, Russell N Harris, the biggest challenge for the musicians was to produce the tonal features indicated by the composer â€“ to generate sounds they had never before produced on their instruments. The composer herself was quite impressed by the musiciansâ€™ commitment and readiness to try new thingsâ€¦ The festive audience cheered the performance with loud applause. (â€¦) The concert had opened with the â€˜Roi Learâ€™ overture, a work in which the terrible fate of this disturbing Shakespeare character was not told in a simple programmatic way either. After the break, the concert was superbly continued with Brahmsâ€™ symphony No. 1. There were, however, listeners who found it difficult to return to Brahms after ter Schiphorst. (WestfÃ¤lische Rundschau, 25 February 2007)â€œ… The BBC Symphony Orchestra then reassembled for a performance of ZerstÃ¶ren II (2006) by Iris ter Schiphorst (born 1956) â€“ best known, perhaps, for collaborative work with Helmut Ohring, but here demonstrating a formidable idiom in her own right. The title, translating as ‘Destroy’, is as unequivocal as the music in conveying abstract images of violence and dislocation, with Schiphorst ensuring that the frequent recourse to extremes â€“ whether textural, timbral or dynamic â€“ is underpinned by a sense of onward (not necessarily goal-directed) movement and given definition by the subliminal tonal follow-through. The outcome is a work whose inner complexity does not preclude that visceral immediacy which both demands and holds one’s attention, not least in a performance as responsive as this. It also marked the welcome return of AndrÃ© de Ridder, whose expertise in this music is undoubted. A pity, though, that the BBC seems currently not to be giving its Maida Vale concerts the publicity they deserve: indeed, the only ‘difficult’ aspect about this concert was finding out whether it was happening at all!â€(New German Music Reviewed by: Richard Whitehouse)â€˜Hi Billâ€™ for bass-clarinet soloâ€œAs the title Bass clarinet suggests, the music on this CD is dominated by the low woodwind instrument. Volker Hemken, solo bass clarinetist in the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra since 1992, presents his instrument with a sequence of both attractive and demanding contemporary works.Iris ter Schiphorstâ€™s Hi Bill! is â€œa little homage to endless hours in smoky clubs and rehearsal rooms.â€ The rhythmic-melodic force field is enriched with screaming, singing, hissing and flapping noises, evoking impressions of jazz. One is sometimes reminded of Eric Dolphyâ€™s improvisations.â€(Das Orchester 11/2006)â€˜Erlaube, Fremdling, dass ich dich berÃ¼hreâ€™ for ensembleâ€œWorks of art that offer a critical take on everyday culture have become rare, since few creative artists feel they have any social responsibility beside the aesthetic one. One of the exceptions is Iris ter Schiphorst, a composer born in Hamburg in 1956 to Dutch-German parents who has been a guest to the Dresden festival for many years. As she demonstrated very clearly at the premiere of Erlaube, Fremdling, dass ich dich berÃ¼hre (Grant me, stranger, that I touch you) in the European Centre of the Arts in Hellerau, she does not hesitate to take a firm stand. In this â€˜musical-theatrical action in 5 partsâ€™ under the heading of â€˜man and virtualityâ€™, the composer deals with the striking imbalance of information: only 10 per cent of the worldâ€™s population have access to the Internet. The remaining 90 per cent will never, or only in a few decades, be able to benefit from this advancement. There is no equality; instead, a new elite dominates the rest of the world. Questioning the relationship of the â€˜networkedâ€™ human being to the â€˜outsiderâ€™, who is cut off from virtual communication, ter Schiphorst finds gripping imagesâ€¦ In addition, the music of the trio (cello, violin, prepared piano), string quartet and sampled material is very complex, characterised by lively gestures. The sound techniques range from isolated single notes to compact masses of sound and noisesâ€¦ Impressive.â€(SÃ¤chsische Zeitung, 17 May 2004)â€œâ€¦ a strong element: the musicâ€¦ a strange effect on the listener when oppression mixes with disturbance â€“ a skillful arrangement which puts a specifically musical sense of loss into sound â€¦â€(Dresdener Neue Nachrichten, 17 May 2004)â€˜ZerstÃ¶renâ€™ for ensembleâ€œâ€¦ The two sheets of sound that were slid into each other in Iris ter Schiphorstâ€™s gripping ensemble piece ZerstÃ¶ren (Destruction) had almost bodily presence. The energies accumulated in them finally burst, before slowly going out towards the end of the work.â€(Stefan Drees, Positionen 68, August 2006)â€œOne of the most impressive pieces of the festival was Iris ter Schiphorstâ€™s ZerstÃ¶ren which transforms the global omnipresence of violence into multifarious reactions in sound, creating an â€˜internal filmâ€™ that captivates with an unfathomable thrill.â€(Dirk Wischollek, Neue Zeitschrift fÃ¼r Musik 4/2006)â€œZerstÃ¶ren, with its layers of sounds, its agitated sequences, its psychologically resonant vibrations and attacking noise, is a reaction to reality â€“ a kind of self-defence in music.â€(Gerhard Rohde, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 16 May 2006)â€˜Aus Kindertagen: verlorenâ€¦â€™ for ensembleâ€œIt was left to the fourth composer, Iris ter Schiphorst, to set things straight and redeem the ideal of advanced, demanding musical composition with a brilliant new work. Commissioned by the radio station Deutschlandfunk, the premiere was the climax of the â€˜Forum of New Music 2005â€™. Concrete instrumental sounds were amplified throughout, enriched and â€˜chargedâ€™ by sampled recordingsâ€¦ In Aus Kindertagen: verloren (From Childhood Days: Lost), a highly-organised ensemble setting is interspersed with childrenâ€™s rhymes and quotes from novelsâ€¦ a technique the composer also employed in other worksâ€¦ The bottom line is that this portrait concert came as a godsend for the â€˜Forum of New Music 2005â€™.(Georg Beck, neue musikzeitung 4/2005)â€œThe biggest sensation was no doubt the Berlin-based composer Iris ter Schiphorst. Her rich soundscapes are made up of an original mixture of noisy sounds (with the instruments amplified electronically) on the one hand and highly expressive musical narration on the other. Commissioned by Deutschlandfunk, Aus Kindertagen: verloren enthralled the audience with its coherence and the original use of the electric guitar â€¦â€(Bonner General-Anzeiger, 9 March 2005)â€˜La Coquille et le Clergymanâ€™ for ensemble and filmâ€œThe music of the Dutch/German composer Iris ter Schiphorst related to the film quite naturallyâ€¦ a genuine unity of image and music. Sometimes it follows the associations very precisely, sometimes it takes its own path. Ter Schiphorst manages to elicit a very individual sound from the instruments: thin and unreal. This fits the film superbly â€¦â€(NRC Handelsblad, 7 April 2005)â€œThe interwar years are one of the most exciting periods in the history of cinema. The young medium was a welcome playing field for the avant-garde of art forms in which the audience â€“ whether in private circles or in public cinemas â€“ was given the opportunity to watch radical or even scandalous things. Not long after making viewers acquainted with naturalistic celluloid representations of reality, the first artists set about thoroughly deconstructing their all-too-familiar viewing habits. When expressionism along the lines of Wegener, Murnau or Lang had become the stylistic mainstream, directors like RenÃ© Clair, Fernand LÃ©ger and even agitprop artists such as Joris Ivens came up with short films which often caused a public stir.Within this cinematic world, between expression and Dada, Charlotte Elisabeth Germaine Saisset-Schneider (whose pen name was Germaine Dulac) earns a special place. She was one of the first to introduce surrealist techniques into film-making. Whilst in Paris, she created an unsettling, egregious work which broke the barrier between the representational and the absurd in both form and content â€“ and two years before An Andalusian Dog.La Coquille et le Clergyman (The Seashell and the Clergyman) is a psychoanalytic nightmare about sexual frustration and desire. In the very first sequence, the rather unspectacular entry of one of the three main characters is transformed into a horror scenario by extreme slow-motion: reality is disintegrating completely, giving way to visualised emotional states. People are crouched on ceilings, sharing heads along a vertical axis; desires flow out of people like ghosts while walls come loose from their foundations.Each scene virtually overflows with visual showpieces such as double exposures, cross-fades, distortions and extreme contrasts of sharp and blurred images. Techniques like these are intended to visually externalise the troubled inner life of a clergyman who is pining after an unattainable beauty, challenged by a rival.Another piece which tells a story in a much more convential, though similarly controversial way, is Lâ€™invitation au voyage (Invitation to a Journey), a work about the secret desires of a married woman for erotic change. We follow her to a dubious night-club, on a journey which forms not only the title of the work but also describes its psychological plot. The shy but adventurous woman gains the attention of a handsome captain but is dismissed when he, discovering that she is married, loses his affection for her.The collage technique â€“ less spectacular than that of La Coquille et le Clergyman but used in an equally skillful way â€“ is focussed on the main characters and is rarely interrupted by visionary excursions. Avant-garde artists of the 1920s often used music to heighten the effect of their visual ideas. A striking example, apart from the collaboration between RenÃ© Clair and Eric Satie, is Fernand LÃ©gerâ€™s and George Antheilâ€™s â€˜Ballet mÃ©caniqueâ€™. Germaine Dulac, who was drawn towards film by â€˜beautiful background musicâ€™ (see fd 22/02), is another director who shows a strong affinity with music as an element of film. Unfortunately, no scores or musical sequences to her two short films have survived, and the music used today follows a 21st-century approach. Fortunately, however, the present work did not dismiss the classic chamber music instrumentation in favour of the synthesizer improvisations so often heard in todayâ€™s silent film arrangements.Due to its numerous dance sequences and conventional narrative structure, one would have expected the music for Lâ€™invitation au voyage to underline the plot, thereby highlighting the melodramatic, straightforward character of the film. However, while the 2002 score of Ensemble Modern oboist Catherine Milliken uses melodic fragments which â€“ though indirectly â€“ reflect the scenes through the musical mood, she avoids all-too-simple mirrorings of the narrative. Instead, her variations for clarinet, flugelhorn, low strings, percussion and piano translate the troubled emotions of the protagonist into music. The clarinet in particular functions very effectively as a seismograph for impulses that can otherwise only be surmised from the actorsâ€™ expressions.Iris ter Schiphorst takes a step further in terms of form in her score for twelve instruments which she wrote for the 2005 premiere of the restored version of La Coquille et le Clergyman in Amsterdam. Recurring to the atonal modernist music of the late 1920s by SchÃ¶nberg or VarÃ¨se, the Hamburg-born composer abundantly exploits the rich associations of Dulacâ€™s imagery. The music, in analogy to the visual layer, time and again dissolves into exciting tone clusters, occasionally sneaking back into a sort of harmony. Schiphorst avoids any sense of predominance of the music over Dulacâ€™s film; neither does the music provide an explicit interpretation of the pictures. The two film scores, commissioned by arte, are excellent examples of how to give silent film jewels a new musical apparel without clothing them in fancy dress.(JÃ¶rg Gerle, film-dienst 12/2005)â€šFÃ¼r Akkordeonâ€™ (accordion solo)â€œThe highlight â€¦ was Iris ter Schiphorstâ€™s FOR ACCORDION. A high-pitched note at the beginning, emerging as if from nowhere, which is then refracted by a grotesquely bouncing bassâ€¦ the accordion is allowed to shine in all its numerous colours. This multi-faceted work is characterised by dramatically pointed passages and surprising turns, such as a suddenly appearing waltz motif.â€(Westdeutsche Zeitung, 24 May 2004)â€œA moving part of the concert was Gerhard Schererâ€™s interpretation of Iris ter Schiphorstâ€™s solo piece for the accordion, a work which, in its deconstruction of expressive gestures, resembles an act of effacement â€¦â€(Gisela Nauck, Deutschlandfunk/Musikjournal, 8 November 2004)â€šWie einen Wasserfisch…â€™ for ensemble and voiceIris ter Schiphorstâ€™s â€¦ Wie ein Wasserfisch (Like a Water Fish) â€¦, premiered at the Forbach rendez-vous musique festival, was music which, in its combination of strictly modern sound and relaxed use of rock or pop styles, was both fresh and fascinating â€¦â€ (SaarbrÃ¼cker Zeitung, 10 November 2003)â€šMy sweet latin loverâ€™ for 5 e-guitars, percussion, sampler, fluteâ€œâ€¦ Iris ter Schiphorstâ€™s My sweet latin lover for the amplified solo flute, sampled keyboard, two percussionists and an electric guitar quintet brought the concert to a close with a brilliant success. The bright introverted band of sounds in which the flute and short texts are embedded is, time and again, broken up by jagged attacks. Schiphorstâ€™s uneasy idyll is an intelligent continuation of Frank Zappaâ€™s legacy â€¦â€ (Anton Sergl, SÃ¼ddeutsche Zeitung, 10 June 2002)â€šEuridiceâ€™ operaâ€œThe voice, and voices, are at the heart of the piece. They whisper and moan, try to get a word in, remember, reconstruct. Iris ter Schiphorstâ€™s chamber opera Eurydike, Szenen aus der Unterwelt (Eurydice, Scenes from the Underworld) struggles with the myth of silenceâ€¦ Suspecting a buried layer of cultural history, the Berlin-based composer focusses on the self-reflection of this woman who, from Monteverdi to Gluck, has always been silentâ€¦ In this work, gestural dance performance, singing, verbal comment and instrumental parts merge in an eloquent, touching mannerâ€¦â€ (Frank KÃ¤mpfer, Deutschlandfunk/Musikjournal, 23 September 2002)â€œâ€¦ In comparison, Iris ter Schiphorstâ€™s Eurydike, Szenen aus der Unterwelt (Eurydice, Scenes from the Underworld), which opened the evening at the Theater am alten Markt (â€¦), is much more memorable, and â€“ not only regarding its well-grounded view on Eurydice, a figure neglected in the myth â€“ more modern than the two ensuing parts of the Orpheus cycle. A few serpentine instrumental lines from the cello and violin at the outset are sufficient for ter Schiphorst to create a much more suggestive atmosphere than her colleagues achieve with all their acoustic and visual kerfuffle â€¦â€ (Wolfgang Sandner, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 24 September 2002)â€šBallade fÃ¼r Orchester: Hundert Komma Nullâ€™ for orchestraâ€œThe audience was intrigued to hear Iris ter Schiphorstâ€™s first orchestral compositionâ€¦ Musically, she is rooted in avant-garde rock music, and it is impossible to miss the affinity of this new work, bearing the ultimate title Hundert Komma Null, to the best of rock (King Crimson, Univers Zero) in the three sections Machine A, B and C. The three-part work was inspired by an anagram (Life, thatâ€™s terrible) by Unica ZÃ¼rn and is divided into three verses that are interspersed by three Machine sections and concluded by a refrain. The work is pervaded by a strong sense of structure. The verses have an air of brittle intimacy; they are like an anti-sentimental lamento, with a gossamer melos and piercingly thin wailing â€“ hybrid figures between vibrato and glissando. This impression is brutally interrupted by the machines. The orchestra mutates into a courageous, collective metallophone, in fantastically violent instrumentation.â€(Christoph SchlÃ¼ren, Frankfurter Rundschau, 22 February 2000)â€œIris ter Schiphorstâ€™s orchestral ballad HUNDERT KOMMA NULL, a commission by musica viva, was keenly applauded at the premiere. The composer makes effective use of sounds (piano, saw) while electronic elements remain in the background. In a few wonderful moments, weird brass instruments interrupt the music, similar to Mahlerâ€™s remote orchestra. Those elements are witty, refreshing and fun for the musicians, who were always comfortable, even in the midst of delicate rhythmic juxtapositions.â€(Gabriele Luster, MÃ¼nchner Merkur, 14 February 2000)â€œA totally normal concertâ€¦ nothing but pure bliss. An unpretentious conductor â€“ Martyn Brabbins, hardly known outside Britain â€“ combined attention to detail with wit and ironic understatement, and so brought the musicians of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra to fill the Munich Herkules Hall with a vividly playful performance. This alone is rare enough. It was partly due to a programme that was, compared with other musica viva concerts, unusually light, without the familiar blood, sweat and tears. Instead, the music made abundant use of all sorts of pop sounds, embellishing them with peculiar, but revealing ornamentsâ€¦ How do I make wantonly shimmering PVC not only gleam with sounds but also tell a story which is existentially tragicomic? It was this element which linked the works of Ligeti, Vivier, ter Schiphorst and Adams in the concert. They were so wonderfully simple that you could whistle them on the streetâ€¦ In his string work Zipangu, Claude Vivier (1948â€“1983) â€¦ underlies a harsh, Japanese-sounding melody with atmospheric interferences. This has an unsettling effect on the familiar â€“ just as in John Adamsâ€™ orchestral foxtrot, The Chairman Dances, which offers a good deal of humour at the expense of minimal and popular music all the way from the salon to South America. Brabbins did not fail to savour these musical jokes brilliantly. Even cheekier, but in a cool, barefaced manner, â€¦ was HUNDERT KOMMA NULL by the Hamburg-born composer Iris ter Schiphorst. In this work, dry, grave classicism meets a â€˜girlieâ€™ pop march, before the two elements merge â€“ in a classic three-movement structure, linked by attacca transitions. Tit for tat seems to be the motto of this encounter, without dogmatism, grumpiness or any sense of suppression. Surely never a musica vica audience went home in such a happy, relaxed mood as on this evening.â€(Reinhard J. Brembeck, SÃ¼ddeutsche Zeitung, 15 February 2000)â€œIris ter Schiphorst breathes fresh air into so-called serious music, which has been so short of breath for some time now. She knows how to use unconventional sounds â€¦â€(Volker Tarnow, Berliner Morgenpost, 12 May 2003)Having written works like the 3D opera Annaâ€™s wake (1993), the music theatre video piece Silence moves (premiered in Dresden, 1997) as well as several large-scale collaborations with Helmut Oehring including Requiem (premiered in Donaueschingen, 1998) and the dance theatre work The House of Bernarda Alba (premiered in Basel/Rome/Berlin, 1999), this is Iris ter Schiphorstâ€™s first orchestral composition. As befits her artistic career, which saw her play the piano, bass and drums in various rock bands and work as a composer â€“ in addition to studying philosophy, cultural and theatre studies â€“ it is a work which would not sit comfortably in the academic framework of orchestral music. Making no attempt to conceal its commitment to the sound and rhythm of rock and soul music, it swings between a hopeless melancholy and a devastating love of life. It is these two emotional states that dominate the seventeen-minute piece. The Ballad for Orchestra, as the proper title goes, was commissioned by the musica viva series in Munich and premiered by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Munichâ€™s Herkules Hall on 12 February 2000 under the conductor Martyn Brabbins.A ballad, as a genre, can refer to content or form. In the content meaning of the word, a ballad is a dramatic narrative; used to describe form, it means a seven-part rondo. In this work, so-called Machine sections alternate with Verses and nameless sections. The piece is concluded by a non-recurring Refrain. The individual sections are sharply cut out against each other, as if quarried out of the wider context, and form three large parts played without a pause, ie. attacca:I BESSER (BETTER) (1st verse; Machine A; 2nd verse; Machine B)II LESE (READ) (â€¦; 3rd verse; â€¦)III LEBEN, DAS IST â€¦ (LIFE, THATâ€™S â€¦) (Machine C; Refrain).However, the musical narration represents by no means a sequential process. Rather it unfolds into emotional states, carrying them into oppressive depths and juxtaposing them with relentless realism. It is a general tencency of Iris ter Schiphorstâ€™s works that they prefer tonal states with energetic sound fields to groups of notes which are arranged in order to achieve specific effects.The abbreviated section headings, which seem to allude to something else, are taken from an anagram by Unica ZÃ¼rn, a painter and writer born in Berlin in 1916 who was forced to leave Nazi Germany. In the 1950s, she sympathised with the surrealists in Paris; aged 60, she committed suicide.The lapidary concluding line of the anagram used in the heading to the third part reads in full: â€œLife, thatâ€™s terrible.â€ The complete anagram provided in the score and allocated to the individual verses would literally translate as follows:Iâ€™d betterstick aces, laughing, (1st verse)dirt in glaring light, pale as a shameful rope. (2nd verse)Readplainly as a thick broom: (3rd verse)Life, thatâ€™sterrible. (Refrain)This pointed statement, which, in ter Schiphorstâ€™s work, implies a necessary abstraction, is condensed in the Ballad into a requiem on a â€œcoincidence of time and space â€¦ with dramatic consequencesâ€ (Iris ter Schiphorst, quoted from the preface to the score of Ballad for Orchestra: HUNDERT KOMMA NULL in the composerâ€™s private study score) at a 100,0 milestone.The most striking features of this music are its extreme range of sounds, from shabby, broken notes to shrill and extremely loud ones, and sharply defined, â€˜mercilessâ€™ structural cuts. This way of carrying things to extremes is reflected, for instance, in the use of the orchestra as a sound instrument. All the instrumental groups are dominated by low registers, with the brass instruments featuring prominently. The symphony orchestra (which is reduced in the middle range as there are no second violins, bassoons or violas) is extended by a prepared piano, sampling keyboard and three percussionists. The orchestra is never allowed to sound â€˜niceâ€™, due to the microphone instructions and performance markings â€“ for example, â€œsick, shrouded, dark, yet longing, with plenty of noiseâ€, â€œmetallic, alienâ€, â€œmoaning: indeterminate pitch, different each timeâ€, â€œpizz. with plectrumâ€, â€œair only, sharp tear-offâ€, â€œsqueeze, with rising pitchâ€, â€œfragile, every tone fading awayâ€, â€œmake it screechâ€, â€œdirty gliss.â€ â€“ and, again and again, â€œmoaningâ€, â€œmiddle-range moaningâ€, â€œlow moaningâ€. These moaning sounds, produced in a heavy, painful way, are characteristic of the Machine sections, as are their orgiastic rhythms.The core section of the Ballad, where the emotions of hopelessness and intense living are merged, breaks forth abruptly in the middle part, Lese, lasting only a few seconds. It is at this moment, at about half way through the composition, that the title line of James Brownâ€™s breathtaking 1965 soul number, Itâ€™s a manâ€™s, manâ€™s world, is briefly interspersed. This moment is preceded by a stretch of hopelessness where time is brought to a standstill. Then, six seconds of murderous pathos, six seconds of keyboard-sampled James Brown, six seconds of a funeral march in a hurdy-gurdy sound, followed by fragments of notes and melodies, metal blows, immalleable elements, standstill, emptiness â€¦ and then the 3rd verse. In these twelve bars, a world comes apart. With this experience still ringing in our minds, the following, archaic Machine section loses its power, although it starts using exactly the same notes as in Parts A and B. The effect, however, is different. This way of composing, building on listenersâ€™ experiences over the course of the work, seems to be characteristic of Iris ter Schiphorstâ€™s music. The section Machine C eventually loses some of its structural consistency, being drained in repetitive chains. The confession of an unquenchable longing is all that remains.The fact that emotional expression is possible again in such a straightforward and intense manner, without appearing nostalgic or worn out, is due to the integral musical thinking which forms the basis of Iris ter Schiphorstâ€™s work as a composer. Everything which the composerâ€™s critical ear finds useful is permitted â€“ elements or experiences from rock or soul music, tonality, noisy sounds, extreme dissonances, melodies, clusters or repetition. And of course it is always a matter of her own personal sensibility and astonishingly imaginative use of sound.All this contributes to a shift of expression towards a kind of emotional realism in which dying and death are expressed in a similarly unvarnished, strong language as the hollowness of the surviving: bleakness rather than grief, brutality rather than drama, reality rather than appearance. This realism, however, was bound to erode the old melodies and harmonies â€“ it has caused the sounds to break apart and made them shabby and hollow. Instead of celebrating the expression of groaning, it is the sounds themselves that are groaning.Â© Gisela Nauck, Positionen 2000