Challenge of Spirit is Broadening


Chiyoko Szlavnics has written the first composition for the new education project Linkage!. The project's kick-off is going to be completed with the final presentation of this new piece, performed by students before the concert Musikfabrik im WDR 65 | Gegendarstellung. Chiyoko Szlavnics answered some questions about her new composition:

You have been commissioned to write the first piece for the new project „Linkage!“. What is the main difference of this commission compared to others?

There are several differences––first, this piece was not commissioned for an existing ensemble. In fact, quite the opposite is true. I was commissioned to write a prose piece,  rather than a musical score, with no instruments specified. This is quite different from all of my compositions to date. The "Linkage!" project brings together members of Musikfabrik and students to realise the pieces, so it was necessary to create a score that  could be performed by students. I was also asked to write it in such a way that non-musicians would be able to participate. Unlike all of my compositions to date, "Challenge of Spirit is Broadening" can be performed by anyone, and no instruments are required for its interpretation.

The only requirement was, the composition has to be „spielBar“ (playable), so it can be performed by pupils without prior instrumental knowledge. How is your piece „spielBar“?  

It is primarily a vocal piece––no instrumental knowledge is required. And everyone has experience using their voice! So in that sense, the piece is "spielbar" by anyone.

Please tell us something about the creative process: How did you approach the piece? What was especially challenging?

I knew from the start that I wanted to invite the performers to take on responsibility for the piece. I began with the idea that they would have to choose a single sentence, themselves, which would then serve as the basis for the piece. I then had to develop a prose score that contained just the right balance between instruction––defining the elements in a logical manner, so that the performers would have clear structure to work with during rehearsals––and openness, one which would be generous, warm, and invitational. I wanted to write a text that would entice the performers into deciding, themselves, what the content should be, and how it should be shaped for their performance. Writing a text with just the right balance between direction and suggestion was the main challenge for me.

„Challenge of Spirit is Broadening“ it the title of that piece students of Maximilian Kolbe Gymnasium will premiere on February 25 at our concert „Musikfabrik im WDR 65“. What does the title tell us about the composition? 

Well, that is an excellent question for everyone to think about!