Musica Omnia & Perfect-Noise
Best regards Bruno - Letters from Stalingrad is an electro-acoustic work conceived from the last two letters written by the composer's young uncle (19), Bruno Gawlick, before being listed as missing in action in late December 1942. The listener moves through time and space via a soundscape that integrates archival sound recordings with live spoken word, two separate piano parts and the prophecy of the sung voice. The resulting work is unique, and in its intimacy and profound reflections, constitutes a fierce anti-war memorial.
The Quartet, Imagined Memories is Ralf Yusuf’s Gawlick’s most intensely personal work: a musical offering to the biological mother he never knew. This new piece, which utilizes the entire range of possible string techniques, is a major essay of haunting and evocative beauty, representing the intersection of memories, both real and imagined, of three personalities whose paths crossed only briefly. To bring this dreamscape to life required, literally, the best string quartet in the world, whose technique and musical knowledge are all encompassing: the Hugo Wolf Quartett of Vienna, in whom the composer has found the ideal partnership, and to whom the work is dedicated. Imagined Memories is paired with one of the quartets that inspired it: Franz Schubert’s equally haunting Quartet in A minor (“Rosamunde”), D. 804, which is directly quoted as an “act of memory”, along with echoes of the entire history of quartet writing.
The eminent German graphic artist Käthe Kollwitz, one of the greatest portrait artists of the 20th century, championed the vulnerable, poor and despairing; she was the artistic patron saint of mother and child, of the outcast and downtrodden and of the neglected, whose lives constantly hung in the balance. Her art was the art of social conscience. Ralf Gawlick’s Kollwitz-Konnex (…im Frieden seiner Hände), a song cycle for soprano and guitar, is based on passages selected from Kollwitz’ diary and letters, linked to nine of her self-portaits which span her entire creative life. It is a large and multifaceted Konnex: an interaction between self-portraits, the past and present, the artist and society, and not least Kollwitz’ art and the composer, whose music is so profoundly influenced by her art. This composer-supervised recording features soprano Anne Harley and virtuoso guitarist, Eliot Fisk, the dedicatees of the work.
Ralf Yusuf Gawlick's bold and original "Mass for the Human Race" Missa gentis humanæ blends the Latin Mass Ordinary with passages from Borges, Virgil, Brecht, Zbigniew Herbert, Dostoevsky, Plautus, Walter Scott and The Gospel According to St. John – in an 8-voice a cappella setting, recorded by select voices from the celebrated Choir of Trinity Wall Street, conducted by Julian Wachner. This work juxtaposes diverse multilingual texts, illustrating the global human elements of faith, with roots in the past and its future illuminated through contemporary experience.
"At the still point of the turning world" is a line from the second movement of "Burnt Norton," the first of T.S Eliot's Quartets. In the Quartet, Eliot speculates on time and existence through the movement towards/around/away from the still point. The musical work explores frequent holographic self-similarities (of expression, reflection, events, experiences, etc...) of the poetic text as it expands the very conceptions of the instrument's aesthetics and technique. Eight music stands, each corresponding to one word from the title, are arranged octagonally around the cellist. For each given performance, the cellist is free to choose the initial stand, which will provide him with certain structural possibilities of the order of musical events. These individual events, suspended in carefully delineated registral spaces in which silence absorbs each point, line, and gesture, exist in what may best be described metaphorically as states-of-being, not becoming.
Ralf Gawlick's Kinderkreuzzug, a cantata for children's chorus and chamber ensemble, is a work at once eloquent and powerful. It casts and extraordinary spell over the listener, amplifying the poignant and tragic text of Bertolt Brecht in a raw and visceral way. The spectacle of three youth choirs, both individually and in combination, as well as their accompaniment by the sparest of instrumental combinations, powerfully converys the subject of "war, and the pity of war" in the words of Wilfred Owen, the poet for Benjamin Britten's War Requiem, the work that Ralf Gawlick's piece most directly evokes.
Trio for Violin, Cello and Piano Opus 3 (1993)
Mysterium doloris quintae (Tropen-Kreuz) Opus 6 (1997) for solo piano
Sonata-Mazur (Aus der Ferne...) Opus 8 (2001) for violin and piano
Glocken-Spiel Opus 11 (2004) for violin, viola, cello and piano
This debut collection for Musica Omnia comprises instrumental works for solo, duo, trio and quartet. A sophisticated interweaving of technique and imagination leads us on a pilgrimage through rich and varied landscapes of breath-taking intensity, enhanced by performances of remarkable virtuosity.
The great Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci spent 27 years in China and died in Beijing in 1610. In addition to theological writings, he also produced works in the fields of horology, hydraulics, optics, observational astronomy, surveying, music, geography and geometry, among other things.
After Ricci died, his fellow Jesuits published his journal. Quando il Fiume Giallo si acchiararà (Frammenti ricciani), scored for alto voice, violin and cello includes texts from Ricci's journal/diary in (a) the original Italian (Italian-Ricci), (b) the translated Latin edition by Nicolas Trigault (Latin-Ricci/Trigault), (c) Trigault's own Latin and Portuguese commentary contribution in this journal translation (Latin-Trigault), and (d) from Ricci's Chinese writings. The texts are anchored by a musical ritornello that sets a central prayer from St. Ignatius' "Contemplation to obtain Love" from his Spiritual Exercises.
Suscipe Domine, for alto voice, violin and cello, sets the central prayer from St. Ignatius of Loyola’s ‘Contemplation to obtain Love’ from his Spiritual Exercises. Each of the four phrases serves as a musical ritornello around which brief, meditative instrumental profiles unfold. The intimacy of the prayer is mirrored in the poetic reflections of the instrumental interludes: they wrap themselves around the profession of faith as they draw upon and imitate the ornate, melismatic vocal line.
Berlin Suite is an 8-movement suite for string quartet composed for the film documentary 'Writing on the Wall: Remembering the Berlin Wall' performed by the Hawthorne String Quartet.
Featured Work: Concerto Concertante per Sei Instrumenti
Concerto Concertante per Sei Instrumenti Opus 7, scored for two pianos and string quartet, drws its inception from Isaiah 6:3: two Seraphims cry out to each other "Holy, holy,holy is the Lord of hosts". This line embodies both the inspirational and essential propelling force behind the work's three movement (I. Duo Seraphim, II. Interludium, III. Omaggio a Raphael) as it includes giving homage in title and spirit to two divinely inspired artistic heralds: Monteverdi and Raphael.
Sorores (Frauenpartita) for clarinet, bass clarinet, violin and violoncello was commissioned by the film director John Michalczyk for the documentary Women in the crosshairs: Victims and Activists in Conflict Zones. Sorores refers to women who share the experience of being victims. They become cross-cultural sisters through traumas familiar to them all; emotional divisions, suffered exploitations, abuses and retributions expose their shared bloodline. Why Frauenpartita? Etymologically, the word _partita_ stems from the verb _partire_, ‘divide’, of which the past passive participle _partitus_ takes on such meanings as ‘shared, divided, parted, distributed’; _partita_ is the feminine (Frauen) form…
A musical partita contains structural divisions that unfold as variations. Sorores is organized as a collection of six interlinked profiles: psychological transformations resonate in constantly shifting musical shapes. Material presented in the opening movement undergoes constant manipulation and reappears in altered guises throughout the work, a musical illustration of fortitude and resilience becoming of the ‘sisters’. The two movements entitled ‘Offerta fraternalia’ are a ‘brother’s’ homage- a tribute to the strength and beauty of ‘das ewig Weibliche’.
Etoile International Productions, co-producers John J. Michalczyk & Ronald A. Marsh.
For the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the documentary memorializes the history of the Wall as an oppressive structure dividing East Berlin from West Berlin (August 1961-November 1989), whose collapse brought about a new unified Germany.
Independent animation film by Basia Goszczynska, director and producer; Ralf Y. Gawlick, music
An old man and woman, very much in love, find themselves arguing about death and loneliness. Each claims they ought to die first; neither wants to be left behind to grieve. Suddenly, to test their claims, Death comes knocking.
Based on the Polish fable by Jozef Ignancy Kraszewksi.
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