Karlheinz Essl

Portrait KHE


for bass clarinet, french horn, double bass and percussion

Commissioned by the Elision Ensemble (Australia)

Basics | Score | Listen | Reviews | Performances


In 1997, I started to sketch the process of this piece during a never-ending train ride to Paris. Four basically low-pitched instruments of different types (bass clarinet, french horn, double bass and percussions) using the same basic sound material ("Klangtypen") which is, though, carefully modelled individually for each instrument's specific physical-acoustical properties.

By this, a complex network of structural relationships was established which draws its power from the dialetic between unity and diversity. On the one hand, there is a tendency of unification were the different instruments try (so to speak) to achieve similar sound results although they are - physically - not compatible acoustical systems. On the other hand, one can also observe the opposed strategy, namely to create individual gestures which cannot be imitated by the other instruments.

This network provides a field of possibilities which is explored like in a drama on stage: in the beginning, the four protagonists are using the same material and try to melt into a similar sonic result (which, by the way, is achieved by a sort of time-variant canonic structure). During the process of the piece, the tendency of individualisation becomes more and more stronger, resulting in a state where each instrument is speaking "with its own tongue".

In this way, the piece exceeds its inherent musical domains and becomes a metaphor for a sociological situation at the end of this millennium.


Karlheinz Essl: elision (1997)
for bass clarinet, french horn, double bass and percussion

Performed by Elision Ensemble, Dir. Carl Rosman
Sydney, Opera House (17 Jun 1999)


The score of elision can be downloaded for free. Please note that the music is protected by copyright.

elision, page 1

elision, page 1
© 1997-2015 by Karlheinz Essl

Home Works Sounds Bibliography Concerts

Updated: 26 Dec 2016