Composers about composers
On our blog, our contemporary composers present their favorite work from our catalogs. This time Sergej Newski introduces Vinko Globokar’s L’Armonia Drammatica.
“After sociologists announced the end of history in 1989, artists felt that it was necessary to reinvent the term “epic” in contemporary music. Nono’s Il Prometeo, Globokar’s Les Emigrées, Heiner Goebbels’s Der Mann im Fahrstuhl and the first operas by Oehring were important works of that time.
Globokar’s most significant response to the challenge of creating new epics was L’Armonia Drammatica, an opera based on a text by Edoardo Sanguinetti. Originally, it was composed for Opéra Comique in Paris, but it wasn’t performed on stage until 2002 in Bielefeld.
The polyphonic libretto is a mesh of six human destinies that tells the whole story of the 20th century through individual experiences. I remember how I experienced the final rehearsal of the concert performance of L’Armonia Drammatica at the Konzerthaus Berlin in March 1995. Suddenly, I felt this power of several contrasting expressive and brittle material layers coming over me which, together, actually formed some kind of dramatic harmony.
There was something about this music that was enormously captivating and that forced me to take a closer look at it. On the one hand there was the thing that Stockhausen called “the chamber music treatment of the orchestra”. On the other hand the syntax almost exclusively consisted of fractures and the overlapping of small fragments. Nevertheless, all of these fragments together formed a single whole and created a constant narration out of several rudimentary beginnings. Probably “Bruch” (German for broken) or “Zlom” (Polish for junk), which is the name of another of Globokar’s major works, is a concept fundamental to his syntax.
A great story can only be told if it’s interrupted repeatedly or if it’s superimposed by other stories. Perhaps because of Globokar’s bilingual childhood in a foreign country he doesn’t trust in the coherence of a language or a vocabulary.“