Voyager 1

op. 98, 2022

for Saxophone Quartet
Duration: 13.30 min.

Commissioned by the Eternum Saxophone Quartet and supported by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia.

CD recording for Genuin, September 2022
World premiere: May 7, 2023, Küppersmühle Museum, Duisburg
Eternum Saxophone Quartet


Composer’s Notes

Voyager 1 is a commissioned composition by the Eternums saxophone quartet, to whom the piece is also dedicated. The composition’s inspiration is the Voyager 1 space probe, which was launched from Earth in September 1977, initially to send photos of planets and their moons to Earth for a few months. As if by a scientific miracle, the probe continues to fly in interstellar space nearly 45 years after its launch. It is still in contact with Earth, signals are exchanged, and Voyager 2 continues to send photos.

The existence of a human work in the most distant place of our solar system fascinates me. I wanted to find a dramaturgical concept to develop this fascination compositionally. Is there, after all, “something” that remains without being permanently controlled by man and follows its own trajectory? Are there similar phenomena or processes in music or in the psyche? Would there be something that could remain in our psyche or heart unexpectedly – like the overlong voyage of Voyager 1 – from the music of the 21st century?

I had decided to write two compositions at once that have to do with both Voyager 1 and Voyager 2. Voyager 2 is a composition for horn octet and Voyager 1 is for saxophone quartet. Both compositions were written in the same year.

Composing for saxophone quartet or for 8 horns was a new task for me, which I had not found easy for a long time, since I did not have a “spontaneous” sound association with this instrumentation. However, the more I delved into the story and journey of Voyager 1 and 2, the more accessible the sound of these instrumentations became.

Both the dramaturgy and the rhythmic and harmonic material of the compositions then became structured by a number chart I developed. Voyager 1 is composed in seven interconnected parts that are played as one.

The first three parts, serve as an opening of sound information that continues to unfold dramaturgically; all three form a unit of mood. In the fourth part, the soloists speak into the instrument and produce different soundscapes through noises to open the fifth part. This part opens with a melody in the baritone saxophone that could rhythmically evoke a folkloric or jazz background. This is repeated three times and each time with different harmonies and accompaniment from the other three soloists as if urging it to unfold. The sixth part is like an epilogue of the fifth part also with sounds but of a different technical nature than in the fourth part. In the seventh part there is humming and dramaturgically it is like a chorus composed like a coda. Chords that are always played from far, opening the space and at the same time leaving it to resonate.




Eternum Saxophone Quartet