For large orchestra
Duration: ca. 20 minutes

 

This work was created in 1992/93, shortly after the loss I experienced through the death of my father, in the kind of creative frenzy that has also produced other works or work fragments. The sudden withdrawal from the real world into the state of wanting only to compose, this despite the demanding day-to-day job as orchestral musician, exemplifies the whole attitude of Metropolitan Midnight Music. It was also a soft (actually inaudible) protest against the music establishment and music business, in that it was (during a tour by the Vienna Philharmonic) inspired by the ghostly atmosphere of a sudden cold snap in the postmodernity of Toronto, Canada.

The cognizance of solitude within an apparently fulfilled but actually encumbered life, the experiences of forced isolation, of a society deprived of meaning and purpose, of the loss of the most important person in one’s life, and of the loss of meaning of one’s own actions within a modern urban agglomeration—these experiences imprinted the formation of this four-movement orchestral work, whose musical structure is shaped through the network of five spatially distributed orchestral groups: a chamber orchestra, a brass band, a woodwind octet, a percussion group, and a string orchestra.

The second movement is titled »Yearning for Silence«. The third is called »Shadows at Night« and characterizes diverse impressions of a modern big city. While the work was at first titled »Toronto Midnight Music« and then »Tokyo Midnight Music«, the title Metropolitan Midnight Music was finally chosen, since the piece could reflect on any deserted midnight shopping center in any modern city. The absurd echoes (the first movement is indeed titled »Echoes«) of a synthetic big city and of the many suburbs that have built up around the older big cities—these are echoes that one first hears when things have died down at night. Then one can experience the artificial acoustic of corridors and lobbies that are empty or almost empty.

Twisted echoes of one’s steps then resonate in the ears, and the shadows of the night appear to move (pretty rapidly at least for the brain, this organ that slows down in the monotony of the night), and many who can’t take this try to shake off the »Midnight Fever« (title of the fourth movement) in discos, bars, and casinos. This movement plays with the impression of the opening and closing door of a loud disco in a wintry big city that has put on a muting coat of snow.

So apart from reflecting the feeling of personal loss this work also contains a soft premonition of that violent revolt that strikes the big cities now and then, and that tries to break out of solitude, lack of opportunity, and lack of hope. Los Angeles—London—Paris: inflammatory and agitating trends have it easy, since the politicians have given things over to police control, focusing on containment, without developing any visionary concepts for the solution of the real problems.