Wir hatten immer ein gutes Verhältnis zu ihr
The second scene of the first act gives an account of the protagonist’s behaviour from the perspective of her neighbors. The beginning statement „we always had a good realtionship with her“ sung in unison is increasingly questioned by the gradual expanding complexity of the chords sung by the eight soloists as well as the chaos in the instrumental ensemble.
The scene is partially based on melodies from Messiaen’s „Le reveil des oiseaux.“ These melodies have been readjusted to fit the underlying harmonic progression derived from the spectral analysis of the syllables „O-per.“
The binary form consists of
- a fast part for 8 singers and ensemble with successive entrances of the bird melodies accompanied by samples of real birds and other animals. The phrase structure is determined by a rather complicated „modulation“ process:
The spectral harmonies adjusted to standard tuning change at the rate of 0.1 Hz. The 8-part homophonic voice texture seeks out strong pitches from this harmonic progression, starting in unison on a d#, fanning out to dissonant 8-part chords and merging on a unison e.
Its rhythm is derived from Brasch’s reading of the libretto stretched by a factor of 3. Finally, the bird melodies which, in analogy, develop into a climactic 8-part polyphony are enveloped by the same speech rhythm–the pauses beeing bridged by tam-tam strokes.
- a slow part for 8 singers a capella which mainly consist of a syllabic arpeggio of an spectral chord spread over the 8 singers and a short entrance of the instrumental ensemble.
- a short coda in which the dense texture of the first part returns suggesting an answer to the question that the text poses („Sometimes we think that it’s really her, she’s back, but that cannot be, she is in jail or in the madhouse now“).
Listen to recording