messages between trees

op. 84, 2020

For viola and bourdon
Duration: ca. 7 min.

CD recording for Sony classical, July 2020 in the Bavarian Radio studios, Munich

Viola: Nils Mönkemeyer, Bourdon: Nils Mönkemeyer (on CD recording)

World-premiere: 20 January 2021, Ultraschall Festival Berlin


Composer’s Notes

messages between trees is a composition dedicated to nature. The series is both a reflection, and an appeal for a mindful approach to nature, which has always shown us the path of life together.

I learned to love trees after I felt their benefits over and over again, more and more strongly. A longing grew in me to embrace them, to observe them, to be able to imagine myself through them. That is why messages between trees, like my other compositions dedicated to nature, takes the form of a hypothetical musical dialogue with people. It is a statement or a narration of observations on the subject of nature. All sound figures, rhythms, tempi and timbres follow the intensity of these thoughts.

The piece consists of a 7-minute movement, where all rhythmic themes, intervals and times create a sort of divine proportion or golden ratio, translated by me. The result is a precise sound atmosphere, like in a self-contained system, in which information circulates and each time it repeats, something new is added. The closed system consists of the energy of communication between the trees themselves, which never stand alone. Either they communicate underground through their roots, or in the air through the wind, whether they are close or far apart. The main theme of this communication, my focus in this composition, is their exchange and the challenge to our perception: that they are living beings who have a language that nourishes us. Without them, human life would be unimaginable.

The ostinato is played either by the pianist (who may accompany the soloist in a duo program), by another string instrument, or by a taped bourdon, played over loudspeakers.