Mask

description

In Mask, musical layers are covered and revealed. Overtone ‘masks’ in the soundtrack transform the colour of the notes in the instrumental ensemble, shifting the sound texture. The acoustic material played by the ensemble is manipulated and snipped apart in the soundtrack. The musical layers within the ensemble and soundtrack overlap one another; sudden interruptions rip a hole in the texture, revealing previously concealed layers.

A percussionist obsessively pulls gaffer tape from a table surface, causing the ensemble to react with manic outbursts. As an old-fashioned metronome, operated by the percussionist, gradually becomes muffled, the soundtrack slowly robs the ensemble’s sound of its overtones.

MusikFabrikMusikFabrik

Mask is commissioned by Kunststiftung NRW, Fonds voor de Scheppende Toonkunst and Casa da Música, Porto.

press quotes

Balanced between experimentation and the senses

— La Libre

Passionate music

“Passionate music of Michel van der Aa”
— De Standaard

Effective new piece by Michel van der Aa

“…an electronic layer flows along with the sound of the ensemble, creating strange mixtures…an effective piece that, thanks to a buildup of small climaxes, moves towards a supreme moment, followed, like a coda, by a series of gradually thinning chords with dazzling harmonic spectra.”
— De Volkskrant

Remarkably individual, purely emotional quality

“With ‘Mask’ Michel van der Aa once again proves his craftsmanship… Van der Aa succeeds in imbuing his music with a remarkably individual, purely emotional quality…clarity of form, maximum use of a small amount of material, mastery of form and a keen sense of timing and effect: these are all present and accounted for.”
— De Telegraaf

instrumentation

for ensemble and soundtrack
2006

1 flute
1 clarinet in B flat
1 trumpet in C
1 horn in F
1 tenor trombone

1 percussion

Strings (1,1,1,1,1)

Soundtrack (1 player)
(doubleA player software, from laptop)

details

Duration 14'
First performance 11 February 2007, musikFabrik, cond. Peter Rundel
Commissioned by Kunststiftung NRW, Fonds voor de Scheppende Toonkunst and Casa da Música, Porto
Published by Boosey & Hawkes

audio

Mask

ASKO ensemble, cond. Clarke Rundell
2:01 min. excerpt

performances

Last performance:

  • 01 December 2013
    Auckland Chamber Orchestra
    Raye Freedman Arts Centre, Auckland, New Zealand

Upcoming performances:

  • 22 August 2014
    Ensemble L’instant donné
    7.30pm, Kunsthaus Bregenz, Bregenzer Festspiele, Germany

publications