1 - Arman Gushchyan: _non-indifferente

2 - Dmitri Kourliandski: Lullaby Dances

3 - Francesc Prat: Rückkehr (2012)


For the tenth edition of the festival CULTURESCAPES, “Moskau 2012” with Russia as the central theme, Ensemble Phoenix Basel performed a concert of pieces by Russian composers. It included the premiere of an ensemble piece “_non-indifferente” by Arman Guschchyan, who is not only active and renowned in Moscow (as the founder of the “Club for young composers in Moscow”), but he also maintains a connection to Switzerland having studied composition in Basel and having won the “pre-art competition” in 2007.

At that time he had already been noticed by Ensemble Phoenix Basel and today their collaboration with Arman Guschchyan continues in the form of concert-tours in Russia.

The music of Moscow-based composer Dmitri Kourliandski is characterized through a particular stasis. He describes his work as “objective” or rather “object-like” and “static”, comparable to a sculpture that suddenly begins to sound. He avoids development and activity in his music. The instruments are often producing non-traditional sounds or they are “de-naturalized”. His piece for solo violin and ensemble, performed on this program, is poetically titled Lullaby Dances.

The Catalonian composer Francesc Prat writes the following about his piece Rückkehr, which was commissioned by Ensemble Phoenix Basel in 2012:

“Many musicians are trying to understand their place within the challenging reality of the Catalonian and Spanish society. We ponder the position of classical music in the current difficult social situation; we consider its voice, its engagement and its application.

These questions have greatly informed the creation-process for Rückkehr. Most of the decisions I make regarding musical material, gesture, form and development of the piece yield from a continuous reflection on my work as a musician (not just as a composer); they are the result of a permanent inner revolution. Never before have I experienced such a painful discrepancy between contemporary creation and the reality of the current society, in which I feel completely ineffective.

Two ideas are presented at the end of this return trip (“Rückweg”): first I exhert myself, without any tricks, straight-forward, in an attempt to achieve a maximum level of clarity; second – and most important to me in order to continue writing music: I would like to look at the future world instead of crying for the world that is passing by. Because of this, I would rather fail than remain comfortably in the realm of mediocrity.”