The composition “Falling” uses short sound excerpts from Beethoven’s String Quartet op 133 the Great Fugue. In this work I was particularly interested in the transitions between the motivic parts, since these passages represent an open or even diffuse situation and undergo interesting harmonic developments without being determined by the motivic dominance.
Exciting are the moments of searching or orienting before a new material is established. It is precisely at these moments that the listener can least predict what is about to happen. All the sounds used in the composition “Falling” come from the material of Op 133, which, quite recognizable, are constantly in motion in changing constellations. In the first half, various algorithms work out melodic aspects of the composition or change its character completely. Changing loops are created, foreign chords that interpenetrate each other and a cycle of constantly changing condensation or disruptions.
After various of these algorithmically developed rhythmic, melodic or percussive processes, the work culminates in minute 14 in three layers. These consist of a backward phrase of 24 bars of the original composition, each transposed up and down by one octave and stretched to 12 minutes 30 seconds. This rearrangement allows Beethoven’s material to develop a completely new polyphonic and harmonic substance, although not a single intervention in the course of the 24 measures was made during the 12 minutes and it is only contrapuntal to itself. The result is a new melodic and harmonic interaction between the now 12 voices of the three layers, each with 4 voices.
The certainty of being in a harmonic process, written by Beethoven’s hand, increasingly disappears and takes on a life of its own.
My thanks go to Art no tempo for the commission to compose this work.
Ludger Brümmer is a composer and professor of composition. Since 2017, he has been working as director of the Hertz-Lab at ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe. From 2003 to 2017, he was head of the former Institute for Music and Acoustics. His music focuses on the use of the computer both as an artistic means of composition and for electronic sound production.