OLGA NEUWIRTH: Chamber Music
Olga Neuwirth’s music is full of shifts, ruptures, deformations and associative relationships. Her works build upon various materials of sound, image and language taken from highly diverse backgrounds, which she interconnects without evening out their intrinsic characteristics. Usually marked by unpredictable transformations during which the music branches out like lush organic growth, the composition comes to reflect the heterogeneous starting materials.
These also include a special way of handling the musical instruments – the composer manipulates the tone colors, usually through untypical tuning and preparation, thus providing the groundwork for the creation of highly differentiated musical situations. This roughening of sounds cannot be taken as a mere rejection of conventional euphony. Rather, it articulates a need to capture the potential that lies dormant in these sound producers and harness it for the process of composition thus creating a means of expression based on these unusual ways of sound production in order to formulate contemporary musical figures. Although the composer always traces her vocabulary back to the process of generation that begins with the acoustics and resonance of the instruments used, the process can be understood most clearly in her chamber music instrumentation, especially in the works composed for strings. (Stefan Drees)