Sarah Nemtsov – WOLVES (2012)
for oboe, piano and reed-making utensils
Peter Veale, oboe
Benjamin Kobler, piano
Janet Sinica, video
Jan Böyng, editing
Julius Gass, recording producer/editing
‘out of this sun, into this shadow.’
from: Virginia Woolf “The Waves”
I wrote the composition WOLVES in 2012 as a commission from my former teacher Prof. Burkhard Glaetzner. He wanted a new composition for oboe and piano for his farewell concert from the University of the Arts (2013). Burkhard Glaetzner, one of the leading oboists of his generation, had an enthusiasm for new music even as a young musician (in the GDR) and premiered countless works throughout his career. A great musician. As a child, I heard a CD of his interpretation of Vivaldi’s oboe concertos, and it was one of the deciding factors that made me choose the oboe (after the recorder had initially been my main instrument). I studied oboe and composition at the same time, oboe from 2003-2005 with Burkhard Glaetzner, then I was still active as an oboist, freelanced, gave concerts, but then decided in 2007 (after I had received a special prize for the interpretation of my own work in a competition as an oboist) to put the oboe aside. Composing needed all my concentration. So WOLVES is also about farewells in various forms. Almost the entire piano is prepared – with reed building materials (I had always hated reed building myself, I was much too impatient for it) – including a planing machine and reed wood. As a result, the sounds clatter and clang or are muffled. The oboist cuts the reed twice in the course of the work. This is composed, a theatrical (symbolic) gesture, of course, but also a tonal change: the first cut makes the sound brighter, more unpredictable, shawm-like. With the second cut, the instrument falls silent, only air noises can be produced – but these sound different through the cut-off tube than conventional air noises with a “normal” tube. It takes effort to destroy a “concert reed”.
But the main thing in WOLVES is of course the music – it is a form of chamber music between freedom and severity, anger, joy, pain and tenderness. The end is not only separation, perhaps also freedom.
For oboe and piano, the composition consists of 7 parts each, which musically stand for themselves, but at the same time refer to each other or encounter each other (wave-like) and also offer fields of association for the sound worlds:
Oboe: I) WOLF II) WOOLF III) WAVES IV) DRAGON-FLIES V) RAYS VI) CUTS VII) AIR
Piano: I) HURT II) HUNT III) LOVE IV) LAUGH V) LOSE VI) BREAK VII) BREATH
The composition is dedicated to Burkhard and Felicitas Glaetzner in gratitude and affection (and admiration).