Ensemble: for voices (SATB), string quartet
Lyrics: Gilles Deleuze, Claire Parnet, Paul Thymich, T. S. Eliot
Premiere: 28.04.2019., Kruppa String Quartet, Roberta Szklenár (soprano), Viola Thirnay (alto), József Csapó (tenor), Dömötör Pintér (bass), conducted by Marcell Dénes-Worowski. Gödöllő.
Award: The piece won 1st prize at the Generece Competition in Ostrava in 2020, and in the same year it also won the Istvánffy Benedek Award of the Hungarian Composers’ Union, a recognition awarded annually to an outstanding composer under 40.
“Blending different genres, instruments or instrumental ensembles is an exciting endeavour not only for the composer, but also the audience. Beethoven’s use of mixed choir and vocal quartet in his 9th Symphony or Debussy’s idea of writing a sonata for flute, viola and harp were great novelties at their times. The string quartet and the vocal quartet are well-known separately in Western music history, however blending these two groups can be regarded as a real rarity. When composing Komm, the main motivation for Balázs Kecskés D. was to exploit the possibilities of combining these groups. Individual parts of the string quartet and the vocal quartet can be treated as equivalents (sopran 1 – Violin I, alto – Violin II, tenor – viola, bass – violoncello), the matching materials can be fused or become extensions of each other. Instrumentation and experimenting with timbre gained significance in the Romantic era and is still an inexhaustible repository for composers. The work takes advantage of the same ambitus of the two apparatuses that creates the possibility for special tone combinations.
The basis of the libretto comes from a 1977 volume, entitled Dialogues by Gilles Deleuze, the French philosopher and aesthetician that contains Deleuze’s conversations with Claire Parnet. Moreover, short fragments by Paul Thymich and T. S. Eliot also appear in the script. Even though Dialogues was published in 1977, it is still highly relevant, since the phenomena and processes addressed by them are becoming more and more acute. The omnipresent nature of the internet, consumer society, the revolutionary discoveries in the fields of informatics and biology – all these lead to the crisis, perhaps the end of the humanist worldview. Boundaries are getting blurred between humans and animals, humans and machines, men and women. Concepts believed to be stable are being questioned, binary oppositions are becoming obsolete, gradualness and pluralism is foregrounded. The thousands of years old teleological nature of Western thinking having its roots in Christianity is replaced by a worldview of permanent purposeless process of changes and transformations.
The faint sense of tonality at the beginning of the piece takes the listener into a sphere of a slipping, dissolving world giving one the opportunity to ask questions that arise when being torn between two worlds. Whether the preceding ideas, feelings, concepts, artworks have become irrelevant? Have they lost their power? The composer invites the listener to reflect on these questions.”