From the composer:
Paul Celan’s late works are deeply ontological, continually searching for new sources of meaning, looking for solutions to problems rather than stating them. He has no use for realism, imitation or reproduction, but his poetry is in no way hermetic – it must “make sense”. This paradox, particularly as exemplified in Engfuhrung, is the starting point for this attempt to create music that combines the seemingly opposing sound worlds of the tuba and the harp. Many composers have been attracted to themes raised by Celan’s works, but I have chosen to explore the unique structure and language that he employs rather than referring directly to any particular subject matter. Particularly influential have been his creation of new sounds which are familiar and yet incomprehensible, linked together by silences that are both desired and feared. Engfuhrung (in musical terminology ‘stretto’ but more usefully translated as ‘straightening’ or ‘narrowing’) suggests by its very name a temporal mode of construction, a rapid succession of entries compressed to near simultaneity, but equally important is the principle of breath units rather than metrical or syntactic units, as one commentator put it “the rhythm of its own caesuras”. Once the source materials have been exchanged, negated and dissolved into one another, they can return at the end and be re-experienced as an attempt at mediation, an attempt to discover meaning behind the words.
– Jack Adler-McKean
Solo parts included: tuba, harp