RuhrTriennale – Ich geh unter lauter Schatten

Jahrhunderthalle Bochum, Bochum
August 18, 2022 9:00 PM

What defines life more than the thought of its finiteness? The small step over the threshold at the end - in truth an eternity. In his latest work Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil - Four songs to cross the threshold, composer Gérard Grisey first sends the angel across the ominous threshold, then civilization, the voice and finally humanity. And each time, the membrane between life and death appears more permeable.

In his last composition, Glaubst du an die Unsterblichkeit der Seele, Claude Vivier looks the end of his life directly in the face. And sketches it exactly as it happened a little later - as if death had already entered life. So does life also remain present in death?

In the music theater creation Ich geh unter lauter Schatten, four women follow the paths of transition, push open doors to related worlds of spirit and sound by Giacinto Scelsi and Iannis Xenakis and, through their transcendent exercises, allow a hint of metaphysical existence to appear in earthly life.

Grisey's "musique liminal" (threshold music) is itself a kind of transcendental product. He transcends the boundaries of sound and creates his entire vocabulary from its subtle microtones. Scelsi had begun this journey into the intangible interior of sound in meditative séances, opening up a terrain that paved the way for both Grisey and Xenakis . In her hands, rigid, limiting matter becomes soft and alive. Concepts such as inside and outside or this side and the other side become obsolete. Grisey's lullaby at the end concedes that the drastic gulf between life and death is perhaps just a man-made chimera of fear that we have forgotten - or never learned - to look beyond.

G. Ricordi & Co. Bühnen- und Musikverlag GmbH
Éditions Salabert, Paris
Boosey & Hawkes - Bote & Bock GmbH

A production of the Ruhrtriennale.

Photo: Jörg Brüggemann
Text: RuhrTriennale


Gérard Grisey Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil

Giacinto Scelsi Okanagon

Gérard Grisey Tempus ex machina

Claude Vivier Do you believe in the immortality of the soul? (Crois-tu en l'immortalité de l'âme?)


Sophia Burgos soprano

Kerstin Avemo soprano

Kristina Stanek soprano

Caroline Melzer soprano

Eric Houzelot Narrator

Elisabeth Stöppler Sound direction

Chorwerk Ruhr


Peter Rundel


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