• Eivind Buene
  • Possible Cities (2005)

  • Edition Wilhelm Hansen Copenhagen (World)
  • fl.cl(bcl).perc.pf.2vn.va.vc.db
  • 16 min

Programme Note

Possible Cities is the first piece in a the cycle Possible Cities / Essential Landscapes for ensemble. As the title of this piece suggests, the cycle is relating to the idea of the city. One of the aspects of the city is that it is a stage of human interaction within networks and structures that seem chaotic and random, but at the same time constitutes finely tuned evolving organisms. The interaction between the musicians in the ensemble provides a metaphor for this idea, and my primary aim has been to investigate different levels of social interaction, of playing together. The unstable, provisionary nature of the city is also something that the transitory quality of music relates to.

Possible Cities is made up of four sections, played as one continuous movement. The first section is a symposium of voices going in and out of polyphonic and heterophonic structures, the second section is concerned with the idea of a grid. Like the different grids of the city (streets, electricity, etc) the time structure of this music is containing, limiting and shaping the musical forces. The third section has the title Two Intermezzi and presents almost naivistic melodies and rhythms, in order to portray two basic social modes of interaction: singing and dancing. In the last section the voices of the symposium re-emerges, but this time the ensemble is gradually disfigured into a kind of unstable mass, where the sense of individuality is vanishing.

The title is borrowed from Italo Calvino, and is connected to the fact that realizing an idea, wether it be of a city or a piece of music, also means destroying and abandoning other possible universes. And Marco answered: ”While, at a sign from you, sire, the unique and final city raises its stainless walls, I am collecting the ashes of other possible cities that vanish to make room for it, cities that can never be rebuilt or remembered.” (Italo Calvino: Invisible Cities)

- Eivind Buene 2016

Possible Cities is comissioned by ensemble intercontemporain and Cikada.

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