Commissioned by Westdeutscher Rundfunk for Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik. Co-commissioned by Borealis Festival, Bergen, Norway, with funding from Arts Council Norway.

  • 15 min

Programme Note

The word ‘sway’ is one of many wonderfully multifaceted words in English, not only describing how trees sway in the wind, but also how one person can influence another.

Both meanings are applicable for this piece. In the world according to quantum mechanics – and classical East-Asian cosmology – nothing is permanent, but sways constantly from one state to another. For instance, one electron can suddenly shift from one behaviour to another in its race around the nucleus (the quantum leap). Each state has in its "belly" the seed of the other states, which can kick in without a warning.

In this piece, the three players could be viewed as electrons, never remaining in the same state for long. They sometimes are moving, simultaneously, in totally different ways, sometimes they are swayed by each other into similar behaviour. Alternatively, they could be imagined as people who never remain in the same mood for long. At times they coexist in different states of mind, at others they are swayed by each other into the same way of being.

Just as the electrons can only move within a fixed set of movement patterns, and people have a limited register of moods, the players can only move between a fixed set of "musics". But each "music" has the other "musics" in its belly, which can kick in without a warning.

Programme note © 2010 Rolf Wallin