flute, clarinet, piano, 2 percussions, violin, viola, cello and double bass

Aschenblume is the story of an existential parable, or rather of this parable’s final descent. The story’s protagonist is a musical situation that is repeated several times at the beginning of the work (a kind of rhythmic ostinato that gradually stiffens into a maintained chord). Its primary feature is duration. If durability implies the capacity to evolve or to produce novelties, then this initial musical situation – which is intrinsically moving even before it is altered – is almost a metaphor for durability and contains its own future voyage, its adventure.

Throughout the piece the protagonist undergoes several metamorphoses, producing situations that are increasingly distant from the initial one. Simultaneously, a process of progressive erosion diminishes its duration. What might have been perceived as a section at the beginning of the piece slowly becomes not much more than a grain of sand, an atom stripped of its qualitative properties. Thus, the process of progressive differentiation that has taken place up until now has been in vain.

«Aschenblume» – a German word from a poem by Paul Celan – is the name given to ashes that take the shape of a flower as they settle. This work was commissioned by the French Ministry of Culture and the Court-Circuit Ensemble. It is dedicated in memory of Gérard Grisey.

Mauro Lanza