• Poul Ruders
  • Corpus Cum Figuris (1985)

  • Edition Wilhelm Hansen Copenhagen (World)
  • 20 min

Programme Note

Corpus Cum Figuris, or "Body with Figurations", is a uniform composition in three major parts. The first part is a slow "marche funébre", a kind of prologue with dark and sombre sounds and a massive wall of chords which leads us to the other part of the works where the static and solemn atmosphere is suddenly stopped and replaced by a rhythmic/melodic ritual which accelerates the music. In the third part the block structure is softened gradually, different figurations and stylistic elements arise to live their own lives: distant waltzes and pictures from the Middle Ages appear in this gigantic sonorous body. After a wild percussion orgy a short flash-back and a scream from the edge end Corpus cum Figuris.

The piece has no literal content at all, even though the title leads the thought to Adrian Leverkühn’s Apocalipsis cum Figuris from Thomas Mann’s Doctor Faustus. More likely, my piece will arouse associations as with all my music. It has to be heard in it’s own conditions, in this case as a big body of music or perhaps as a great screen where the details, of course, are part of the whole body but at the same time are foreign and odd. It is as if one climbs a mountain and from the top of that mountain discovers a world which is completely different from expected.

Corpus cum Figuris for 20 musicians was composed in 1984, commissioned by Ensemble InterContemporain and the Danish Radio. Ensemble InterContemporain world premiered the work in April 1985 conducted by Peter Eötvös. The piece was also played at the ISCM-festival in Amsterdam by Netherland Radio Chamber Orchestra conducted by Ernest Bour.

- Poul Ruders.


Score preview