— my shadow, too

Haiku preview

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Twelve Haiku by Robert Spiess

Written for Katarina Hiller and Göteborgs Vokalensemble
Instrumentation: mixed choir SSAATTBB and guitar
Duration: ca. 10 minutes
First performance: Göteborgs Vokalensemble, 19th August 2014, Kungsbacka

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Recording with Göteborgs Vokalensemble and Sebastian Caldas:

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Finden und verbinden

Click image for an extract

Click image for an extract

Written for Sylvia and Phillip for their wedding
Instrumentation: flute and organ
Duration: ca. 3 minutes
First performance: Svenja Stöcker (flute) and Tobias Krämer (organ), 7th june 2014, Wiehl

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Hällristningar

Click image for an extract

Click image for an extract

Written for Nikolaus Indlekofer and the symphony orchestra of Ettlingen music school
Instrumentation: orchestra
(2+picc, 2+cor, 2, 2 – 2, 2, 3, perc, str)
Duration: ca. 15 minutes
First performance: Sinfonieorchester der Musikschule Ettlingen, 24th November 2013, Ettlingen

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Lurs are calling and soon a procession begins to take shape, chanting can be heard. The song fades away and drums take up a daunting rhythm. What is this? Hunt, war, a ritual? The music leads towards an inexorable, forceful climax that is resolved in a phase of contemplation.

Hällristningar is inspired by the Bronze Age rock carvings that can be found in many places of Scandinavia. They must have played a vital part for society, it was a great effort to painfully beat mythical and common motives out of the hard rock. The music wants to fire the imagination and give life to these ancient and to our eyes alien works art. The orchestra paints musical images of scenes from rock carvings such as hunt, war, processions, making music, farming and religious rituals.

But there is more to this score than simply depicting a time so long ago that we only have a vague perception of how pepole lived back then.

Central to the aesthetics of rock carvings is their pictographic character. It was the depiction of the characteristics of an object the creators of the rock carvings were after and not a lifelike representation. A wagon for example is commonly represented by a side view of the wheels connected with lines.

During the 20th century, icons have become important again, helping to transport complex messages through simple means and to a certain extent independent from language – like signs for toilets, elevators, emergency exits or “overtaking forbidden”. Nowadays pictogrammes have gained even more importance in our lives. They have become the key to using computers, the internet and all sorts of technical devices that surround us.

An important part of this digital world of pictogrammes are games. We are playing always and everywhere and icons are often fundamental to gaming. Hällristningar incorporates this natural relationship towards symbols and pictographs shared by us as a part of the digital world and its games and the Scandinavian people of the Bronze Age as a part of their art.

Central to the score is a set of symbols that show how the parts have to be played. They represent the rules of playing the piece: how different sections have to be performed, but also when they have to be performed. The musicians need to listen to each other much more carefuly than they would normally do as the other’s actions determine their own. Instead of painstakingly rehearsing an exact interpretation of the piece the musicians engage in a direct and playful interaction. The score becomes a social game for orchesta which makes the individual musician conscious about their role within the orchestra.

Two concerts in Germany

Last weekend Göteborgs Vokalensemble, a chamber choir that I am a member of since last autumn, visited Chorioso, my former German choir from Karlsruhe. For two concerts, one in Baden-Baden and one in Karlsruhe, the choirs joined forces and sang German and Nordic music. Even two of my pieces were performed: Havet and, for the first time, Se och smaka herrens godhet. I want to thank both choirs for the fantastic time we had and for the great performances of my pieces.

I even made a recording of Havet which can be listened to under Havet’s article.

Tre motetter/Drei Motetten

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The motets are originally in Swedish, but there is also a German version available, translated by Annika Baetge.

Du visar mig vägen till liv
Book of psalms 16:11
Instrumentation: mixed choir SATB
Duration: 2½ minutes

Se och smaka Herrens godhet
Book of psalms 34:9
Instrumentation: mixed choir SSAATTBB
Duration: 3½ minutes
First performance: Vokalensemble Chorioso and Göteborgs Vokalensemble, 1 November 2012, Baden-Baden

Prisa vår Gud, alla folk
Book of psalms 66:8–9
Instrumentation: two choires with three voices SABSAB
Duration: 2½ minutes

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This collection of three motets gatheres three quotations from the bible concerning trust in god:

You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

Praise our God, all peoples,
let the sound of his praise be heard;
he has preserved our lives
and kept our feet from slipping.

First performance of »Die Qual der Wahl«

The Remigius chamber choir Nagold has successfully performed Die Qual der Wahl for the first time. The piece is a commission for the international choir competition which was held during the choir festival Frankfurt 2012 and arranged by Deutscher Chorverband.
With my piece the choir recieved a special award for the best first performance of a folk song arrangement.