A title like the one of my 1991 piano-piece ("TOMBEAU: an enormous stream of tears") is meanwhile difficult to pass one's lips: it is prone to the danger of exaggeration and thus of harmlessness although it is definitely meant to be serious.
My fundamental idea, rather: my real and only wish in this piece was to liberate myself from the immense burden of a biographical situation, to dissolve the burden of pain, free myself in sound, knowing, that for other people there is nothing more distant than foreign pain still a singular process to me.
Improvising on the piano I felt that this would only be possible with an extremely reduced musical material, felt, that only few single tones can be filled up with tension, how only very little can mean very much.
The central musical material in TOMBEAU consists mainly of the falling major, in the end the minor second i.e. historically passed on gestures of suffering, mourning, and sighing, which I had to examine in view of the current usage. The second-figures seem to be easily noticable as if they were on the surface; different pitches and ways of touching, i.e. a respectively new embeddening of sound define their transformation. Aggressive outbursts interrupt these lamento parts.
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For the most extended eruptive part I also used mostly sparse means: One single chord is 'hammered' by means of very few changes in rhythm, dynamics and an occasional change in pitch.
In the end, like a farewell, the almost naked and unmodified melody which is a quotation, musically and semantically related to my piece, namely "Nun seh' ich wohl, warum so dunkle Flammen…" from Mahler's "Kindertotenliedern". There follows a long extinction…
translation Gunilda Wörner
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