Second Self

description

Second Self could be described as an internal conflict. A live orchestra, a solo string quartet and taped samples of the orchestra are the ‘characters’ and in their interactions and confrontations we see the trajectory of the piece.

A string quartet detaches itself from the orchestra. It emerges as an alter ego, another version of the orchestra itself. These four players challenge and prod the orchestra. As the balance of power shifts, so does the surrounding aural landscape

The musicians are joined by an invisible partner, a soundtrack that enters into a dialogue with them. The soundtrack is profoundly fused to the music as an extension of the sound itself, as though it were an additional instrument.

In the end, the string quartet answers the orchestra with sampled excerpts of musical material and in doing so eventually obliges the orchestra to become a mime artist. The orchestral musicians continue playing, but their sound has been robbed by their alter ego.

press quotes

Einen spannenden inneren Konflikt

“Das SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg unter der einfühlsamen Leitung von Roland Kluttig eröffnete die Donaueschinger Musiktage mit mehreren Uraufführungen. In der gut besuchten Donauhalle erklang zunächst Second self für Orchester und Soundtrack (2004) von Michel van der Aa. Sein hochexpressives Werk Second self beschreibt einen spannenden inneren Konflikt. Zeit-Ticker und extreme rhythmische Verdichtungen begleiten hier einfühlsame Cantus-firmus-Sequenzen und virtuose Pizzicato-Einlagen. Cluster-Bildungen erscheinen in mehreren Schichten übereinander. Ein Live-Orchester, ein Solo-Streichquartett und aufgenommene Samples des Orchesters sind hier die höchst virtuosen ‘Darsteller’. Roland Kluttig arbeitete Interaktion und vibrierende Konfrontation dieser innerlich glühenden Partitur sehr konsequent heraus, immer wieder kippte die Hör-Landschaft machtvoll um. Die Musiker wurden gleichsam sehr geheimnisvoll von einem unsichtbaren Partner begleitet. Das Streichquartett antwortete mit stichprobenartigen Ausschnitten des musikalischen Materials. Dynamische Kontraste stachen reizvoll hervor.”
— Alexander Walther, Das Orchester 1/2005

Michel van der Aa, what a talent!

— Parool

One of the highlights of the Netherlands Music Days

— De Volkskrant

Fresh music

“Fresh music that carefully balances the electronic and acoustically produced sounds.”
— Trouw

Perfect and emotionally balanced

“Emotion and superior technique exactly form the grandiose combination that rules in Van der Aa’s composing…virtuosic use of electronics…a work full of fantasy that always sounds apparent and striking but also always surprises.”
— Telegraaf

Sophisticated shadow plays

— Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

instrumentation

for orchestra and soundtrack
2004

1 clarinet (in E-flat)
1 clarinet (in B-flat)
1 bass clarinet/ clarinet (in B-flat)

2 horns (in F)
2 trumpets (in C)
2 tenor trombones
1 bass trombone
1 tuba

2 percussion players

Strings (12, 12, 10, 8, 6)

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

details

Duration 15'
First performance 14 October 2004, SWR orchestra, cond. Roland Kluttig
Commissioned by Donaueschingen Musiktage, Fonds voor de Scheppende Toonkunst
Published by Boosey & Hawkes

audio

Second Self

SWR orchestra Baden-Baden and Freiburg, cond. Roland Kluttig
2:15 min. excerpt

performances

Last performance:

  • 18 February 2011
    Tapiola Sinfonietta
    Dima Slobodeniouk, conductor
    7pm.
    Tapiola Hall, Espoo, Finland

CD | DVD

Donaueschingen Musiktage 2004 cover Second Self
Doneaueschinger Musiktage 2004

Performers:
SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg
Roland Kluttig, conductor

Label:
Col Legno

publications