For piano four-hands
Premiere: November 29, 2017, Christos Marantos & Harald Ossberger, Mozarthaus Vienna 
Duration: 15'40''

 

I     Sans perspectives
II    Dernier Espoir
III  Hallucinations

 

L'homme sans avenir (Man without Future) was composed at the request of the Piano Duo Harald Ossberger and Christos Marantos. It is a parallel composition to the Trombone Concerto op. 22k, which was written at the same time. The multiple refractions and reflections of the Trombone Concerto's harmonic material, which had not been exhaustively explored there, are given here an intensified compositional expression, which is reinforced through the underlying idea for this composition.

I wanted to write a piece that responds to the condition of a generation that has been neglected by politics and society, although our society needs precisely this "lost generation": intelligent, educated people, for whom neoliberalism and capitalism have apparently lost their value. Without perspective and hope for a better life, and escaping into a fantasy world—this has become the reality for millions of young, creative people living in the industrialized nations. Forced into unemployment, this generation is searching for a new meaning, a new vision. In a time of financial and refugee crises, conflicts and disillusionment pervade every aspect of life. The consequences of globalization and failed integration had not been taken seriously by the ruling class for a long time.

The titles for each movement trace individual stations of this lost generation, even if the music always presents purely musical developments. The first movement depicts an "adversarial meeting," so to speak, of the two players. Their confrontations result in seemingly hopeless situations, until only interrupted, or perhaps shattered, thoughts are audible. Yet hopelessness never attains total domination, but rather articulates its opposition against circumstances that attempt to cement the present reality and not allow any further development. The search for identity in a seemingly free, but overall uncertain and vulnerable future, a longing for a better way, a goal that is worthwhile to pursue: all these elements that are contained in this piece result in misleading situations where simple solutions are evaded, and where form never plays a unifying factor. Figures and movements are exhausted through their conflict, whereupon sharp contrasts and the return of seemingly used-up elements in new contexts become the most effective means.

In this respect, the contrast between sustained and dry sound plays an important role, in addition to the contrast between consolidation and dissolution, which maintains its unique character in all three movements. In the first movement, the "dry" (without pedal) sounds are to be performed mostly in fortissimo, while the "veiled" (with continuous pedal) sounds are performed pianissimo.

In the second movement, something resembling a rudimentary melody is still allowed, and produces an important ramification: as a "last flowering of Romanticism," so to speak, as a symbol of hope, these melodic remnants are gradually degraded to the status of an illusion and ridiculed. This melodic breakdown is sonically reinforced through the use of crumpling tissue paper.

Finally, the last movement is concerned with intoxication as the last bastion of long-lost confidence. The delusion of positive experiences, feelings, and perspectives is musically characterized through the use of trill-like figurations and by the "permanent pedal," which simulates the hallucinatory "status quo." In addition, the pianists also push each other off their places: "clashing" and "shoving away" is the rule – as well as discreet active operations that underline the overall presentation of the composition.

To prevent any possible misunderstandings among performers and listeners, I would like to emphatically point out that this is not music of depression, but rather of active rebellion against the ostensibly inevitable. Society is accustomed to ignoring problems and blocking their solutions in order to preserve (for itself) its accomplishments. The bloody events of the recent past demonstrate where this insistence (bordering on paralysis) has already led: war, civil war, genocide, revolution and dictatorship. (Translation: John Moraitis)