All endings are sad, all endless things are impossible to bear
for ensemble and electronics
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.