The string quartets IXXU and Cold
Farmer  are expressions
of completely different phases of my life and work, but in spite of this they
are very closely related. Composing Cold
Farmer was like impulsively
tearing myself free of musical conventions and from actual as well as imagined
restraints. It was like stepping or falling into uncertainty, into a perilous
state, an unconditional leap into spontaneity…like gasping for a painful but
life-saving breath after having been under water too long.
IXXU originated in a completely different
way: there seemed no other possibility than to try again and again to free
myself from the constraints of my already engrained compositional style, but I
found no avenue of escape. My engrained
compositional style had
manifested itself in the inability to tear free of certain keys (in this and
other cases D sharp) in an energy-laden, rhythmic movement which escalated the
tempo obsessively in its desire to break loose, as well as in moments of an
exhausted, deceptive quietude.
I was only able to complete IXXU in three stages, with several
years in between each one. At the end of each stage, it was impossible for me
to continue with the composition: later, however, I was driven to carry on. The
only possibility for doing this was, as I saw it, to proceed on the basis of
fragments, striking particles out of Cold
Farmer that now seem to me to
protrude from IXXU like solidified columns of lava.
Having landed at point zero in my disorientation, I could only begin where I
had already been once before.
relics turned out to be just that and were only comprehensible to me on the
surface. Nevertheless in the end during a performance a wholly new piece
emerges before me.
IXXU was commissioned by the Davos
Festival. The premiere was given by the Rosamunde Quartet in 2005.