04.07.1997  20:00  ZÜRICH, KUNSTHAUS Vortragssaal

Liza Lim, Australien

Street of Crocodiles 1995

Flöte, Oboe, Alt-Saxophon, Alt-Posaune, Cimbalon, Violine, Viola, Violoncello, Barok-Violoncello

Voodoo Child 1989

Sopran, Flöte/Piccolo, Klarinette, Violine, Violoncello, Posaune, Percussion, Piano

Diabolical Birds 1990

Piccolo, Bassklarinette, Piano, Violine, Violoncello, Vibraphone

Garden of Earthly Desire 1988/89

Flöte, Oboe, Klarinette, Mandoline, Gitarre, Harfe, Percussion, Violine, Viola, Violoncello, Kontrabass

Freitag, 4. Juli 1997
Kunsthaus Zürich

Konzert in Zusammenarbeit mit der IGNM Zürich und dem Konservatorium Zürich

Hans Peter Frehner Flöte
Hansruedi Bissegger Klarinette
Urs Bumbacher Violine
Samuel Brunner Violoncello
Viktor Müller Piano
Lorenz Haas Percussion

Jürg Henneberger Leitung

Emma Davislim Oboe
Raffael Camenisch Alt Saxophon
Theo Banz Posaune
Markus Hochuli el. Gitarre
Ruth Gygax Mandoline
Katrin Bamert Harfe
Matthias Würsch Cimbalon
Martin Zeller Barock Violoncello
Monica Clemann Viola
Fumio Shirato Kontrabass
Sylvia Nopper Sopran

Liza Lim, Biography

Liza Lim (b. Perth, Australia, 1966) studied composition with Richard David Hames and Riccardo Formosa in Melbourne and with Ton de Leeuw in Amsterdam.

She has received commissions and performances from organisations in Australia and Europe such as the Ensemble InterContemporain, ELISION, Ensemble Modern, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Arditti String Quartet, Australia Ensemble, Westdeutscher Rundfunk Köln, Radio Bremen, Michael Vyner Trust and the BBC, Sydney, Melbourne and West Australian Symphony Orchestras. Performances of her work have taken place at major international festivals such as the ISCM World Music Days in Hong Kong (1988) and Zurich (1991), Musica nel nostro tempo Milan, Wien Modern, Gaudeamus Music Week, Milano Musica, Sendai Asian Music Festival, Melbourne International Festival, Pittsburgh Music Lives, Huddersfield Festival, as well as in concert seasons in Europe and Australia.

Recent premieres of her work include Sry Vidaya - utterances of Adoration performed by the Kölner Rundfunk Sinfonie-Orchester und Chor and The Alchemical Wedding for 22 musicians jointly performed by Ensemble Modern and ELISION at the 1996 Melbourne Festival of the Arts. A "composer-portrait" concert of her work was presented by Radio Bremen and the ELISION Ensemble in November 1996 as part of the «Bremer Podium» series. Liza Lim has received two Australia Council Fellowships. The first for her opera, The Oresteia and the second, for a series for installation-perfomance works made in collaboration with visual artist Domenico de Clario and ELISION [Bar-do'i-thos grol (The Tibetan Book of the Dead) and The Cauldron - Fusion of the 5 Elements.]. She was awarded an inaugural 1996 Young Australian Creative Fellowship.

Her works are published by Ricordi Milano who have also released compact discs produced by ELISION of her large chamber work. Garden of Earthly Desire and opera, The Oresteia. Liza Lim presently lives in Brisbane, Australia.

The Ensemble für neue musik zürich first performed Liza Lim's work Voodoo Child in 1991 and Garden of Earthly Desire as part of their 10th birthday concert in 1995 before presenting their concert of her works in July 1997.

Programme Notes:

Street of Crocodiles (1995)

«There open up deep inside a city, reflected streets, streets which are doubles, make believe streets. One's imagination, bewitched and misled, creates illusory maps of the apparently familiar districts, maps in which streets have their proper places and usual names but are provided with new and fictitious configurations by the inexhaustible inventivneness of the night...»

«On that map, made in the style of baroque panoramas, the area of the Street of Crocodiles shone with the empty whiteness that usually marks polar regions or unexplored countries of which nothing is known...»
(from Bruno Schultz: Street of Crocodiles, transl. Celina Wieniewska)

The starting point for this work was an «accident» during a performance of a chamber work of mine, Koto. The second cellist inadvertently turned two pages of his part during a solo passage leaving a moment of extraordinarily charged silence. I experienced this moment with a heightened attention that led my car through that suddenly openend window of silence into another world - another music which seemed to have been playing all along beneath the surface of the other work... the dreaming of Chris'cello as he turned the pages.

Street of Crocodiles was commissioned by Ensemble Modern and is scored for flute, oboe, alto saxophone, alto trombone, cimbalom, violin, viola, violoncello, baroque violoncello.

Voodoo Child (1989)

was commissioned by Radio Bremen for the 1990 Pro Musica Nova Festival (first performance, ensemble Avance). Scored for soprano voice, flute/piccolo, clarinet, violin, violoncello, trombone, percussion and piano, it sets two stanzas from Sappho's To a young girl.

But my tongue is frozen, and at once
a delicate fire flickers under my skin
I no longer see anything with my eyes,
and my ears are full of strange sounds

Sweat pours down me, and trembling
seizes me all over.
I am paler than grass, and I seem to be
little short of death...

(prose translation by Constantine A. Trypanis)

The imagined sound of the ancient Greek word (whose pronunciation is a matter for conjecture) was the propelling force for the way in which I dealt with the diverse instrumentation. I deliberately tried to set up many points of conctact and ambiguity between the singer and the instruments in a timbral spectrum ranging from 'pure' tone to distorted noise. As such, the entire ensemble sings together as a complex organism, each part an indivisible aspect of the sounding of the poetry.

Voodoo Child seeks to find an analogue to Sappho's spell of love and lust - a dizzying world of hot and cold sensations prickling under the skin - the roar of blood and thught coursing trough one's ears - uncontrollable shaking - and the claustrophobic, choking inarticulacy of these feelings...

Diabolic Birds (1990)

is the companion work to Voodoo Child and shares similar materials and the expressive intensity of feelings of vertigo, convulsiveness, losing control. Whilst once of the main concerns of Voodoo Child was to explore as many connections as possible between the instruments (eg: to create abiguous sounding zones in which a trombone can sound and act like a soprano, a cello like a piccolo), the realtionships in this work are much more stratified. There are few tutti passages but instead an interplay of trios (piccolo, bass clarinet, piano versus violin, cello, vibraphon), duos and solos.

The work was commissioned by The Seymour Group with the financial assistance of the Australia Council.

Garden of earthly desire (1988/89)

I began writing Garden of Earthly Desire with the idea of narrating simultaneously many different (musical) stories on many levels. My primary inspiration came from Italo Calvino's Castle of Crossed Destinies in which sequences of fables arise from the interpretation of arrangement of tarot cards. The stories thrown up by this process intersect and illuminate each other with a multiformity of meanings that Calvino 'reads' from the cards, embedded as they are with memories, centuries-old of Western culture.

This kaleidoscopic patterning of meanings finds accord with my recent aesthetic preoccupations with fragmented, exploded structures that I term «debris» forms. Central to this area of exploration lies a belief in a hypothetical «wholeness» of an idea - the idea that is the underlying principle of the music - that presents itself, coalesced into a momentary flash of consciousness, in the precompositional stage. In the process of trying to realize this idea however, it becomes splintered and framgented in a field of technical considerations - strategies, games, filters - that is, different readings of possible meanings of the idea. The piece of music therefore is not so much a completed «art-object» as the resultant «bloody traceries» of layers of interpretation.

The work offers no «neat» final solution but rather, seeks to present a complex flux of expression in time - a celebration of the multiplicity and richness of the life in and around us. Hence the appeal of the tarot - the characters of these archetypal figures find musical analogies in the work. There is the Juggler - the alchemical, mercurial figure engaging in a dialectic of extremes; The High Priestess - totem of initiation and the gathering of energizing forces; the Empress - fecund, pagan, teeming with life...

The work's connection with the fifteenth century Flemish painter, Hieronymous Bosch and his tryptich Garden of Earthly Delights was arrived at when I had already completed a substantial part of the work. I saw remarkable correspondences between various aspects of the Bosch - its tripartite structure; the surrealistic richness of the moods explored in the panels; the detailed fantasy figures - and the charaoters of the different strands of my music that I had organised into a 3 x 3 x 3 cycle of sections.

The work is dedicated to Daryl Buckley

Licht: Bruno Bissegger

Mit freundlicher Unterstützung des Präsidialdepartementes der Stadt Zürich, der Erziehungsdirektion des Kantons Zürich, der Stiftung Erna und Curt Burgauer und der Genossenschaft Migros Zürich.

Steinway-Flügel: Vertretung Jecklin, Zürich

Das Konzert wird von Radio DRS II aufgezeichnet und zu einem späteren Zeitpunkt als Portrait über Liza Lim ausgestrahlt.
28. März 2021
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