Emergence (1993) – Programmhefttext


Emergence stellt mit einer breiten Palette von Klangfarben in gegensätzlichen Registern den weiten Dynamikumfang des Instrumentes dar. So werden einige Noten mit Flatterzunge gespielt, während andere gleichzeitig gesungen und gespielt werden, so dass sich der Klang der Bassklarinette für mein Ohr zu einer menschlichen Stimme formt, einer, die flüstert, aufschreit, singt, spricht, grunzt, etc..


Während der Bassklarniettenpart von Emergence farbenreich und vielfältig ist, ist der Klang und der Umfang des Schlagzeugparts bemerkenswert begrenzt. Vier Schlaginstrumente werden jeweils immer auf die gleiche Weisen gespielt. Neben einer ziemlich hoch gestimmten snare-drum, die in Emergence immer mit einem Besen aus dünnen ästen gespielt wird, kommen eine leicht gedämpfte Triangel, ein Tambourine und zwei leicht unterschiedliche, kleine Rasseln. Zusammen parodieren die Instrumente manchmal den Klang eines Spielzeugschlagzeugs, oder den eines mechanischen Affen, der auf seine Trommel schlägt, und dann wieder den eines Walkman-Kopfhörers, der auf dem Kopf von jemandem in der Nähe dahintrommelt.


Die Komposition Emergence definiert vier größere Teile, von denen jeder eine längere Verdichtung darbietet, die von einer kurzen Entspannung gefolgt wird. Dabei beginnt jeder neue Teil auf einem noch niedrigeren Energie-Niveau, als der vorige. Im ganzen entwickelt sich die Musik von einem chaotischen, schnellen Anfang, zu festeren, kontrollierteren Teilen, und schließlich zu einer klaren Schlussgeste.


(Stefan Hakenberg, 2013)



Emergence was written in 1993, the year before I arrived in Boston for grad school. At the time in Cologne, I was sharing an apartment with composer Volker Blumenthaler who had put me in touch with the bass clarinetist Henri Bok and his Duo Contemporain partner, percussionist Miguel Bernat. Henri is known for his versatility and for his excellent control of the so-called "extended techniques" on the bass clarinet. He even authored a book on this topic, which I consulted frequently whenever composing for Henri, a pleasure which I have had a few more times since writing Emerence, which produced compositions like Cube, Three Thai Tunes, and Days. The structure of the bass clarinet part of Emergence features a wide range of dynamics with a large palate of sound colors in divergent registers -- some notes are flutter tongued, others are played and sung at the same time, shaping the sounds of the bass clarinet into what I like to hear as a human voice, one that is whispering, shrieking, singing, speaking, grunting, etc.

At the time I was composing Emergence, I was considering an opera libretto written for me by the American writer Philip Gourevitch on an early short story of his called Mount Scopus I was fascinated by the mental state of the central character Charlie Sharp, who, emerging from a coma, found that he had tragically lost both his legs after hitting a mine on a dirt road while on a humanitarian mission far from his American home.


While the bass clarinet part of Emergence is colorful and diverse, the percussion part is remarkably limited in sounds and scope. Four instruments are played in standardized ways. A rather high-tuned small snare always played with twig brushes is joined by a slightly muted triangle, a tambourine, and two slightly different small rattle sounds -- at times mimicing the sound of a toy drum set, or the sound of mechanic monkeys druming away, and at others, the sound of Walkman headphones blasting away on the head of another.


Emergence establishes four larger parts, each marking an intensification and then a short release. Each time a new part begins, it seems to begin at an even lower energy level than the part before. The piece develops from a chaotic, faster-paced beginning, to a more consolidated, controlled, clear ending-gesture.


Dinosaur Annex's Diane Heffner and Bob Schulz have now taken on the American premiere of Emergence. Earlier this year I worked with them and recorded their exciting interpretation of Emergence for a CD to be released later this year. The wonderful ease and beautiful lightness with which Ms. Heffner can play the bass clarinet part of Emergence has kept on surprising and exhilerating me. Mr. Schulz's love for the instruments he chose for the percussion part shows in every well-placed beat and the joy with which he creates the sound of numerous players at the same time out of his single part. I feel very grateful to Dinosaur Annex for presenting Diane Heffner's and Bob Schulz's rendering of Emergence


(Stefan Hakenberg, 2005)