27. April 2020

New Music Monday #6

epiphanous, dim explores the ways in which relatively undifferentiated musical materials develop identity through repetition and the types of
expressivity that arise when static sounds require a near-virtuosic effort of concentration from the performer.

Joseph Andrew Lake, 2019


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New Music Monday #6 includes epiphanous, dim (2019) by Joseph Andrew Lake, a commissioned work for the Monday concert piano – forte – insideout curated by Ulrich Löffler. On the blog Hannah Weirich and Ulrich Löffler talk about the special sound exploration and dynamics of the piece.

“In preparation for his commission for piano trio, Joe Lake wanted to meet with both string players individually.

He came up with several pages of systematically arranged double stops, the special feature of which was that most of them were a combination of flageolet and normal fingerings – often rather unpleasant to play, but in any case a challenge for the player, since the two notes usually required very different bowing treatment. – But it is also a wide and very exciting field, because the combination is not only the sum of both tones, but often creates completely new and fascinating sounds.

Joe was not only interested in double stops of adjacent strings, but also in those that skip one string, which is a real logistical challenge and not always solvable.

We went through each sound in different (mainly quiet) dynamics, bow speeds and contact points (i.e. on the bridge, on the fingerboard, directly on the fret fingers). On the cello, many sounds can also be bowed on the other side of the fret fingers – on the violin this is unfortunately rarely possible because of the differen playing position at the chin. If so, however, the result is a very unique and special timbre.

It soon became clear that, in order to complete Joe’s intended sound library, we would continue our joint work after these two meetings – but then in a virtual way, since Joe lives on Gotland.
He emailed me sounds (page by page), I tried them out, sorted out the ones that were not feasible and then recorded different variations of each double stop.

And at some point another 270 sounds were explored, I had a strenuous, physically demanding, but above all exciting and incredibly enriching sound exploration behind me – and the composition process of epiphanous, dim could begin.

Put on your headphones, close your eyes and join us on a fascinating voyage of discovery into the interior of the sounds”.

Hannah Weirich


“A world premiere is always something special. Of course we know the instrumentation, the approximate duration, but what the music is about, whether it touches us, moves us – we know that at the earliest after the first performance.
The piano trio “epiphanous, dim” by Joe Lake belongs to that special kind of music which, once set in motion, works by itself.
Sure, the performers have practiced their voices, rehearsed together, and then play music with full concentration, listening to each other, letting it happen. What is sometimes necessary, a deliberate steering somewhere, “taking matters into one’s own hands”, is not necessary here, and actually not desired. What counts is the full trust in the inherent dynamics of the music, the engagement with the inner movement of the sounds. – And in no time half an hour is over…”

P.S.: Directly after the premiere of “epiphanous, dim” in April 2019, Katharina, my son Richard’s girlfriend, who was pregnant at the time, said: “Wow, that’s exactly the kind of music I want to hear in the delivery room.”

Ulrich Löffler