All endings are sad, all endless things are impossible to bear

for ensemble and electronics

dur. ca. 10'

Commissioned by Sond'Ar-te Electric Ensemble

Premiered November 18, 2022

O'culto da Ajuda, Lisbon

Sond'Ar-te Electric Ensemble

cond. Pedro Neves

This piece stems from an intel­lec­tu­al fail­ure. The ini­tial impe­tus for the cre­ation of the piece was a pas­sage from the work Ich und Du, in which Mar­tin Buber asserts that the life of human beings does not take place in the sphere of tran­si­tive verbs alone”. Es beste­ht nicht aus Tätigkeit­en allein, die ein Etwas zum Gegen­stand haben” — It does not exist in virtue of activ­i­ties alone which have some thing for their object. The phrase tow­ered above those around it, and the promise of a unique gram­mar encour­aged my pen­chant for parataxis and gen­er­al­ized offense of lin­guis­ti­cal­ly-inspired musi­cal syn­tax (to say noth­ing of the Niet­zschean impe­tus to remake the gram­mar that pre­vents us from con­ceiv­ing new and rad­i­cal rela­tion­ships with the world, which also sup­ports Buber’s project).

But the exam­ples that Buber offers only seem to define this sphere of tran­si­tive verbs”. Ich nehme etwas wahr. Ich empfinde etwas. Ich stelle etwas vor. Ich will etwas. Ich füh­le etwas. Ich denke etwas”. Of that new promised gram­mar, nothing.

I let, then, anoth­er book inform my work: Poet­ic Clo­sure: A Study of How Poems End”. Bar­bara Her­rn­stein Smith deep­ened, with answers from the field of poet­ry, my under­stand­ing of the dri­ving ques­tions of the piece. It then became one about what makes music end — about what makes any­thing end — and how to recov­er eros from sta­sis; about cadences, inter­rup­tions, con­nec­tions and endings.

The piece is ded­i­cat­ed to Philipp Henkel, brother-in-arms.