Padding, Martijn

Martijn Padding was born on April 24, 1956 in Amsterdam. In the introduction to his website, Martijn Padding writes, regarding his music and way of working, that he studied a volume ...

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Tattooed tongues / Friso Haverkamp, Martijn Padding

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Remarks: Voor stemmen en groot ensemble. - In opdracht van de Warschauer Herbst. - Opgedragen aan E. Swedenborg. - Jaar van comp.: 2001. - Tijdsduur: ca. 90'
Duration: 90'00"
Year of composition: 2001
Status: fully digitized (real-time delivery)

Other authors:
Haverkamp, Friso (librettist)
Program note (English): [Première: September 23, 2001 - Grand Theatre, Warsaw - National Opera, co-production Stichting GeestGronden] - Even after 229 years, it is not easy to compose music which matches Swedenborg's celestial visions, and this all the more because of his outspoken ideas about 'heavenly' music, such as: 'love is like a melody' - 'celestial choirs of harmony are expressions of a unity in love' - 'polyphony and symphony are the sounds of truth and goodness' - 'earthly music is of spiritual and celestial origin, and so music can elevate the listener to the heavens and has an impact on the beyond'. The high-flown solemnity of these quotations reveals the mystic Sweedenborg had become during his late fifties, as complicated as courageous, but too sublime if not too lofty to serve just like that as a starting point for a musical argument of my own, being my (primary) choices as a composer, in terms of material, idiom, instrumentation, etc., much more 'down to earth'. Yet, some of
Swedenborg's 'celestial proposals' seem to be most inspiring and relevant to the compositions of an opera score dealing with angels and the beyond, e.g.: the distinction between 'earthly music' and 'otherwordly music' has been translated into a double layered structure of live-electronics and non-electronic music; the 'actio in distans' or 'invisible forces' Swedenborg refers to will be expressed by means of an electronic transformation of the acoustic sound of piano, strings and reeds, the use of prefab electronic samples, and even an electronic manipulation of the voices (both singers and narrator). Apart from this electronic articulation, there are other connections between (some of) Swedenborg's basic notions and (the music of) Tatooed Tongues: Swedenborg's obsession about numbers, correspondence, analogy, not to say ordination, is reflected in the score, as it is in the libretto, on all levels, from major structure to detailed nuances, from the 3-fold impersonation of
'Swedenborg's consciousness' to the 9 lines of Genesis (:3) and 9 categories of angels. Very much in line with the tremendous influence of Swedenborg's (musical) ideas over so many (contemporary) composers and writers, (the score of) Tatooed Tongues is deeply rooted in the gist of his thinking, even if his sometimes unbearable 'new-age' attitude and canon (by Swedenborg performed through the tearjerker 'angel-eyes') seems to be turned upside-down and harshly criticised. Since transformation is the essence of art, it is only by means of art unbiased interpretation that a 'new music' transforms and opens the 'new-age' Swedenborg deserves. - MARTIJN PADDING (transl. Friso Haverkamp)

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