Apollon, seven miniatures for piano trio
op. 101, 2023
For piano, violin and violoncello
Duration: 15 min.
A – identity
P – inner tension
O – breathing
L – light reflexions
L – dream memory
O – fire dance
N – reverberation
commissioned by the Duisburg Philharmonic for the Eigenzeit Festival 2023 and dedicated to the Trio Feininger.
In Greek mythology, Apollo is a multifaceted God: God of light, spring, moral purity and moderation, prophecy, the arts (especially music), healing, and he is also the God of archers. The idea of Apollo’s versatility and how the letters of his name form a multi-level musical path and context, as well as the space for interpretation arising from this, inspired this composition. Recreating musical constellations about history and mythology is something I often feel the inner need to do.
Apollon is conceived as of seven short pieces in correspondence to the number of letters of the name Apollo and form a homage to light. Different compositional moods, tensions and relaxations, timbres, certain intervals and rhythms, phrases and melodies appear in all seven pieces. They make the composition seem like a seven-part story in sound, emerging as a new whole.
The seven miniatures generate seven pieces of “information” or aspects in sequence. The legato bowings throughout the piece emphasise the tension of the musical phrases; the strings are free to shape these bowings independently.
The first miniature, the letter A, is seeking an identity, in order to make contact with itself and with the audience. The second miniature (P) creates inner tension and intensity within a few bars, in which the three instruments start a kind of conversation. The third miniature, O, creates a closed sound space, like a calm inhalation and exhalation, and briefly echos the second miniature. The fourth miniature, L, features three different, alternating compositional themes. All three exist in different time and sound spaces, like memories – or light that is reflected and coloured by different objects, creating a changeable energy. The fifth miniature, L again, seems like a sound dream that has suddenly appeared from a faraway world. The sixth miniature, the letter O, is strongly marked by the rhythmic-melodic characteristics of a fire dance, in which the composition’s dramaturgy and duration becomes more condensed. The composition concludes with the seventh miniature, N, in which first the violin and cello and then the entire trio recite a kind of vocal epilogue.