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After the first performance of ‘Anthraciet’ a colleague walked up to me, very angry, and said: “You can’t do a thing like this, all these scales and tapehiss, it’s not music…”
I was quite shocked at the time, but now (2008) i think it was a kind of sharpness and anger born out of conviction, something which unfortunately quickly disappeared in the 90’s.
‘Anthraciet’ is a rigid alternation of 6 groups of material: silence, interval, chord, melody (in the highest octave), scale and ‘virtuosic gesture’.
All this is placed in 37 blocks, relating to each other in golden sections.
Halfway into the piece, in a high tempo as if a taperecorder was playing on fast-forward, the whole piece rushes past, with a huge bang on the moment it switches from the past into the future.
Throughout the whole work, a layer of composed static noise is sent out through the speakers.
The static noise only becomes noticeable for the audience when it suddenly disappears, at 3/4 of the work, leaving behind a disorienting void.
There are small quotes: Haydn’s ‘Andante con Variazione’, Chaplin’s ‘monsieur Verdoux’ and Jan Boerman, a fragment from one of his early etudes, a quote on a 5-second piece of tape.
The title refers to the metamorphosis of coal to anthracite.
Musical material is compressed until only a compact core remains: 1 chord, 1 melody etc.