Intimate Relations (2019)

Eivind Buene

About this exposition

Blue Mountain is a 35-minute work for two actors and orchestra. It was commissioned by the Ultima Festival, and premiered in 2014 by the Danish National Chamber Orchestra. The Ultima festival challenged me – being both a composer and writer – to make something where I wrote both text and music. Interestingly, I hadn’t really thought of that before, writing text to my own music – or music to my own text. This is a very common thing in popular music, the songwriter. But in the lied, the orchestral piece or indeed in opera, there is a strict division of labour between composer and writer. There are exceptions, most famously Wagner, who did libretto, music and staging for his operas. And 20th century composers like Olivier Messiaen, who wrote his own poems for his music – or Luciano Berio, who made a collage of such detail that it the text arguably became his own in Sinfonia. But this relationship is often a convoluted one, not often discussed in the tradition of musical analysis where text tend to be taken as a given, not subjected to the same rigorous scrutiny that is often the case with music. This exposition is an attempt to unfold this process of composing with both words and music. A key challenge has been to make the text an intrinsic part of the performance situation, and the music something more than mere accompaniment to narration. To render the words meaningless without the music and vice versa. So the question that emerged was how music and words can be not only equal partners, but also yield a new species of music/text? A second questions follows en suite, and that is what challenges the conflation of different roles – the writer and the composer – presents? I will try to address these questions through a discussion of the methods applied in Blue Mountain, the results they have yielded, and the challenges this work has posed.
typeresearch exposition
last modified06/11/2019
share statusprivate
copyrightEivind Buene
licenseAll rights reserved
published inNorwegian Academy of Music
portal issue3. Unfolding the process

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