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‘songs from the hill’ (2012)

‘the hill’ is a volume of poems by the minimalist poet Robert Lax, who has lived half of his life as a hermit on the greek island of Patmos. His poetic style transcends literary genres, sometimes oscillates between narrative prose and abstract lyricism, even touches the border of concrete poetry, where the individual word is elevated to a linguistic object, but at the same time remains embedded in a descriptive context. As regards content, these songs are all about solitude; a man living in a world of his own imagination, waiting for a companion, who may never show up.

I wrote these songs during my time in Berlin, when I was occasionally taking private lessons with composer Chris Newman, who is known as a gifted songwriter. It was actually the first song cycle I ever composed. Since I had no clue of tonality, I decided to create a harmonic progression with help of my favourite tool: chance operation. Hence the procedure is actually not completely randomized; I applied chance to create a precompositional setup, but finally selected the notes by ear.

 

Premiered 2012, at Sammlung Hoffmann, Berlin, by Natalia Pschenitschnikova and Mikhail Mordvinov.

In 2017 I have revized, and complemented the work by six new songs; however the song ‘I’d sit & wait’ has remained in the original shape. In 2014, DJane Helena Hauff has produced an instrumental rework of this song.