About the program
The contemporary music programme of the BFO now features a “living classic” of a 20th-century composition, Pierre Boulez, two American artists in their fifties, and a young Hungarian composer. Boulez’s Le marteau sans maître (The Hammer without a Master) was first presented at the 29th Festival of the International Society for Contemporary Music in Baden-Baden, in 1955.
Hungarian Máté Bella could be the grandchild of Boulez, who was born in 1925, and his Chuang Tzu’s Dream is in fact related to the work of the French composer. “The work’s set of tones,” he writes, “is the result of the different transpositions of six chords, each comprising six notes. The chords are closely related to Pierre Boulez’s Dérive 1 (1984), a piece written for six instruments. From the chords of the Boulez piece – which also use six of the twelve notes – I created their shadows/inversions.” The piece is a “salute to Chuang Tzu, a Chinese philosopher (4th century BC). One of the oldest Chinese stories related to dreaming is Chuang Tzu’s, who saw himself as a butterfly in a dream, and upon waking, he couldn’t decide whether he had dreamt being a butterfly, or he was a butterfly dreaming that it was Chuang Tzu.”
Steven Mackey was born in 1956, and he started his career as a rock musician. Considered a leading composer of his generation, he is also active as a performer. He based Slide, a 2012 suite for tenor, electric guitar and chamber orchestra, on his 2009 work for the theatre.
The sources that the music of David Lang (b. 1957) draws on are modernism, minimalism and rock. His style is often called post-minimalistic. He wrote These Broken Wings in 2010, for a Chicago ensemble, the “eighth blackbird”.