Photo © Neda Navaee
En face: Solitude
version for amplified percussion solo (2018/2020) 30′
There is no room so walled up that it will not open with such a trusty door, if you have but the strength to insinuate it.
– Bruno Schulz from »Solitude«
»Solitude« – a story by the Polish-Jewish writer Bruno Schulz (1892-1942) – was the inspiration and point of departure for the composition »En Face«. The percussion forms its own space with door and mirror. The soloist is almost inside a cage surrounded by his instruments and objects. He is protected and defenseless at the same time. He plays only with his hands, without sticks, nothing lies between him and the hard surfaces that he hits, caresses, or touches. Microphones are attached to his wrists – to a certain extent, he zooms in to the sounds, the objects, puts them under a microscope, listens with his hands as the hands become ears in a resonating choreography. After an attack, his hands often make extra movements to capture, reinforce, or rhythmicize resonances; the soloist performs, so to speak, partially in the air, a symbol for the vacuum. »En Face« was composed in 2018 for solo percussion, narrator, and symphony orchestra. It was premiered in 2019 with the Philharmonic State Orchestra Cottbus, Aleksander Wnuk and Jakob Diehl. The idea of solitude took on yet another meaning with the covid pandemic, and during the lockdown in 2020, I reworked the percussion part into a stand-alone solo for Aleksander Wnuk. The actor Jakob Diehl voiced the German translation of Bruno Schulz’s text.
Sarah Nemtsov (*1980 in Oldenburg, Germany) studied composition in Hanover and Berlin with Nigel Osborne, Johannes Schöllhorn and Walter Zimmermann. Her music captivates through sensitively sounded setups, through complex and energetic textures, musical stratifications, interactions between acoustic instruments and electronics, as well as references to other arts and other media. Sarah Nemtsov has received numerous awards and scholarships, including the Busoni Composition Prize of the Berlin Academy of the Arts. In 2020, she was nominated for the Opus Klassik Prize in the category »Composer of the Year«. Nemtsov’s works are performed at internationally renowned festivals – such as the Donaueschinger Musiktage, Wien Modern and ECLAT festival. Teaching positions brought her with a DAAD short-term lectureship to the University of Haifa in Israel and to the Darmstadt summer course. She lives in Berlin.