Happy birthday, Robert HP Platz!

Happy birthday, Robert HP Platz!

“Losing yourself in the labyrinth of sounds conceived by Platz is the best thing one can do these days” wrote Piercarlo Poggio in his review of Roberto Fabbriciani’s latest CD with works from Robert HP Platz (BlowUp May 2021). Platz’s compositions since 1989 represent parts of a diary-like gesamtwerk that continues via associative leaps – individual pieces stand for themselves but are closely connected and can, to a degree, be performed simultaneously. With these branchings, interlockings, and connections in space, sound, and content, Platz creates a cosmos of polyphonic forms whose overall image changes depending on your perspective (or where you are sitting) – and which perhaps never concludes.

We celebrate Robert HP Platz’s 70th birthday with the current CD and his latest orchestral work, Anderswo: Wand, and look forward to future “branchings” – such as in his new work for Ensemble Musikfabrik and the ACHT BRÜCKEN festival in early 2022.

Anderswo: Wand (2017/2018)

for orchestra - - perc - hp - solo vl -
WP: 12.01.2019, Cologne

View score

Composer's note on Anderswo: Wand

This wall has something massive, impenetrable, dense. When looking and listening closely, one discerns details and inscriptions. Individuals peel themselves from the mass, and the more the piece develops, the more they can unfold.

So far, so technical, so banal.

The whole thing goes back to the idea of an imaginary opera scene for my chamber opera Anderswo, about the question of tyrannicide. There, the “wall” should be the sung/spoken/shouted names of the victims, who (parallel to a frame story that deals with resistance to the Nazis) increasingly emerge and become increasingly recognizable, attain individuality.

The “plot” would run crosswise: the resistance from perpetrator to victim so to speak, during which the victims lose their victimhood, lose their passivity, and actively shape the future. Have you explored Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation on the web? The individual interviews are often of shocking magnificence.

Hardly a trace of bitterness or hate, but rather forgiveness again and again. Injunctions to overcome barriers, testimonies of love for the world and its people…

Which brings me, on the other hand, to the grandiose throw of David Foster Wallace’s speech This is Water, in which he calls our regular, daily egoism “our default setting, hard-wired into our boards at birth,” and contrasts it with an “adjustment” that understands others not as obstacles in the way of self-imposed goals, but as fellow human beings, at eye level – as an equal voice which brings us to polyphony, as I understand it: as dealing with others with respect and love for their otherness.

—Robert HP Platz

Photo: Barbara Klamm