• Carola Bauckholt
  • Treibstoff (1995)
    (for ensemble)

  • Henry Litolff’s Verlag GmbH & Co. KG (World)
  • 1(bfl).0.0+bb-cl.0/perc/pf/str(
  • 11 min
    • 2nd June 2024, Musikakademie, Alteglofsheim, Germany
    • 7th June 2024, Rittersaal im Herzogschloss, Straubing, Germany
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Programme Note

Treibstoff is, as listening to it immediately confirms, a telling title. The listener enters the piece as if a door were suddenly pushed open and he finds himself in the midst of a swarm of sound creatures which, because they have legs of different lengths, move faster or slower. There is a hectic hustle and bustle. Each of the instruments has a different gait and the simultaneity of all the "locomotion sounds" results in an impenetrably dense rhythmic field of repetitive figures.

The organic impression is created by a breathing tempo of constantly fluctuating acceleration and deceleration or by prescribed imperfections in the interplay. The fact that the comparison with the locomotion of living creatures is not a free association is proven, alongside out-of-breath noises, by the vocally imitated "horse snorting" or the score reference to "galloping dog paws" to characterise a ricochet of the violoncello more precisely. The gesture may have been derived from panting, panting and pattering, but the piece does not make sense by copying nature with other means. "The piece poses the question of the motif for mere forward motion: what drives us?"

And what makes us stop? After a convulsive outburst from the piano and percussion - which falls out of the soundscape - there is an abrupt halt: the instruments carefully feel their way forward, as if they were standing in a fog and couldn't see a step further. The section is dominated by a very low double bass foundation, coloured by a very high-pitched noise from the violin and viola: a combination of sounds that the composer calls "snow". The fog does not lift in the following section, but the ear becomes sensitised and realises that the sound creatures are communicating intensively by forming duets or assembling complimentary rhythms. A quarter-tone string melody leads into the final section, which draws on movement models from the opening section.

Frank Hilberg




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