Saed Haddad – Critiques & Ironies (2019)
8 short pieces for piano
Benjamin Kobler, piano
Janet Sinica, video
Jan Böyng, editing
Julius Gass, sound direction
1. Tombeau | 2. Intermezzo I | 3. Dark Clowning | 4. Intermezzo II | 5. Arabesque | 6. Elegy | 7. Perpetuum mobile | 8. Abyss
These short pieces were composed in response to the generous commission of the Köln Philharmonie (KölnMusik) in context of the Non-Beethoven-Project 2020. I was given a collection of phrases which were communicated to Beethoven; however, Beethoven’s response to these phrases is unknown to us. I was asked to compose a piece inspired by Beethoven’s possible answer or commentary without quoting neither imitating Beethoven’s style(s).
The two phrases told to Beethoven and which my piano pieces comment on:
The first phrase touches on the satire and the ironic; irony can be found in many of Beethoven’s compositions (as well as in my own). In fact, irony is a sort of contradiction: it is something which looks/sounds serious, yet which has another face which laughs or smiles. Furthermore, in the 8 short piano pieces one can notice that a certain focus has been given to the idea of repetition with the intentional pun/irony that ‘répétition’ in French means ‘Probe’.
The second phrase criticizes the artistic scene and offers a possible solution, namely, “Kritik”. I believe –and I would imagine the same if Beethoven were alive- that our present musical scene needs urgently constructive criticism, because it is saturated with many wrong attitudes and conducts (for ex. some musicians are lazy/careless with respect to rehearsals; when a performance is not a world-premiere, nobody invites composers to rehearsals -even when the musicians have never rehearsed with the composer in question-; most people prefer silence and political correctness (i.e. compromising in saying what they really think) over a critical polite enriching discussion). These wrong attitudes –among others- impoverish our culture by depriving us from cultivating our human spirit/intellect via sharing daring and challenging thoughts with each other.