GEORGES LENTZ - composer / sound artist
Caeli enarrant III
Cobar Sound Chapel
from 'Mysterium' ("Caeli enarrant..." VII)
for prepared piano (2002-2004)
The little piece Alkere for prepared piano was written mainly during a trip to the Australian Outback in November 2002. The complete isolation of the vast, flat landscape, the total silence and breathtakingly radiant night skies were among the strongest impressions I received during this trip - as was the humbling thought: how small and insignificant are we compared to this gigantic setting!
The following experience might sound ridiculous, but it felt real and important to me at the time: after a series of cloudless days, a large group of clouds appeared on the horizon one evening shortly before sunset and lit up the whole sky in blazing colours. In the midst of this seemingly God-forsaken landscape, this dramatic spectacle struck me with the force of a vision (divine? demonic? - very possibly, the radical loneliness of the place was beginning to play games with my mind). The same night, under the stars, I sketched Alkere (a word meaning 'sky' in one of the Aboriginal languages).
With a little distance, it now seems to me that this little piece marks the beginning of a darker tone in my music. This was probably due to my own inner "demons" of doubt which I carried with me on that trip, and which led me to a severe crisis of faith (which continues to this day...): there was, and there is, so much destruction and evil in the world - more often than not perpetrated in the name of God! -, and while I had never been able to follow one religion exclusively, I was now more than ever doubting whether there was anything out there at all - apart from emptiness and silence. (I am sure many people live very comfortably with such thoughts, but they have always been a source of great unrest to me).
Musically speaking, the light, carillon-like sounds of the beginning are broken up by an increasingly threatening atmosphere as the work progresses, reflecting my generally sombre outlook at the time. (Incidentally, some of the same darkness can be found in my subsequent piece, Monh, only to break out with full force in Ingwe).
I put the Alkere sketches away after that night and only completed the work in July 2004. It was premiered by Frank Wibaut at the Salzburg Summer Academy in August of that year.
G. L. 2005
Listen to Alkere, played by Clemens Leske, on ABC classic/amp.