© John Popham. All rights reserved.

Die Fenster des Universums

In 2011, Pala and I met Austrian composer/organist Klaus Lang at the IMPULS Festival in Graz, Austria, where I had the opportunity to work with the composer on rote asche for bass clarinet, saxophone, accordion, and cello. Written in 2009, rote asche, combines air sounds from the accordion, bass clarinet, saxophone with the fragile texture of soft, sustained high harmonics in the cello. It is a beautifully still and powerful work and was a moving introduction to Klaus Lang's music. Die Fenster des Universums (The Windows of the Universe), his piano trio from 1999, is comprised of 16 musical "windows" with alternating segments of silence. The "windows" are constructed with two musical ideas - the creeping double stop glissandi in the strings and the repetitive staccatissimo statements from the piano. While each of these segments lasts for the same duration (10 seconds), it is remarkable how temporally disoriented one can feel due to the individual segments' varying construction. For example, a "window" that has an even distribution of activity seems to last a significantly different duration than one which has a less balanced design.

die fenster des universums by klaus lang

Die Fenster des Universums sind sehr klein, das Glas ist überzogen mit einer gelblich bräunlichen Schmutzschicht, die eine oder andere Scheibe ist gesprungen. Der ursprünglich weiße Lack hat eine graue Tönung angenommen und ist bereits an vielen Stellen sowohl vom Fensterkreuz als auch vom Rahmen abgeblättert. In manchen Ecken gibt es verwaiste Spinnennetze und auf der Fensterbank liegen vereinzelt verschieden große, vertrocknete schwarze Fliegen.

the windows of the universe by klaus lang

The windows of the universe are very small, the glass is coated with a yellowish brown dirt, a pane or two is cracked. The original white paint has taken on a grey tint and is already flaking off in many places from the window grids and frame. In many corners there are deserted spiderwebs and on the windowsill lie a scattering of dried black flies of varied size.