• Elena Mendoza
  • Stilleben mit Orchester (2021)
    (for orchestra )

  • Henry Litolff’s Verlag GmbH & Co. KG (World)
  • life objects
  • 16 min

Programme Note

Stilleben (literally "still life" or "quiet life") is the German term for still life in painting. Throughout the history of art we find representations of domestic objects such as kitchen utensils, food, books, etc. which, through composition, colour and light, acquire an aesthetic dimension and transcend the everyday. In my work Stilleben mit Orchester I have transferred this pictorial idea to the acoustic field, so that we will find sounds of multiple everyday objects sublimated through their instrumentation in the large body of the orchestra.

The exploration of the timbral possibilities of objects has been with me for several years now, as my latest works (e.g. the musical theatre "Der Fall Babel" from 2019) testify. With the outbreak of the pandemic, however, this interest in the poetics of the everyday has taken on a new dimension: our life experiences have long been confined to our own four walls, where, as if through a microscope, we have been forced to discover new worlds in small things. This is where the literal translation of "Stilleben" as still or quiet life comes into play - in Stilleben mit Orchester we are witnessing a musical world that is to some extent "quiet" and intimate, which is also due to the nature of the objects themselves, which are not designed to make music and therefore do not have a resonating body to amplify them like traditional musical instruments.

Another aspect that interests me in this work is the questioning of the concert hall as a closed universe. The integration of everyday objects, which are "aliens" in the relatively hermetic context of a symphony orchestra, implies from a performative and visual point of view a dramaturgical conflict, a culture clash that invites us to look and listen to the orchestra from an unusual perspective.