For five different orchestra groups placed in parts of the room *
Duration: ca. 20 minutes

* I chamber orchestra (1 flute (also piccolo), 1 oboe (also cor anglais), 1 clarinet in B-flat (also bass clarinet), 1 bassoon, 1 horn, 1 piano, percussion IV: vibraphon, 5 chinese temple blocks, timpani, bongos, timbales, crotales, siren, claves, guiro, maracas, snare drum, suspended cymbal, tam-tam; 4 solo violins, 2 solo violas, 2 solo cellos, 1 double bass

II woodwind octet (2 flutes (both also piccolo), 2 oboes (both also cor anglais), 2 clarinets in B-flat (both also small clarinet in E-flat, 2nd also bass clarinet), bassoon, double-bassoon

III brass band (5 horns in F, 4 trumpets in C, 3 trombones, tuba, percussion V: timpani, snare drum, bass drum (with rods), cymbals, whip, tam-tam, ratchet, hi-hat, triangle)

IV percussion:
percussion I: timpani, gongs, snare drum, slay-bells, 3 tom-toms, tam-tam, castanets, tambourine de basque, chimes, triangle, whip, bass drum (with rods)
percussion II: Glockenspiel, gongs, triangle, bass drum, siren, tambourine, steel drums, sandblock, claves, tam-tam
percussion III: Xylophone, chimes, chinese wood block, timbales, tambourine, conga, llamador, quinto, timpani

V large string orchestra (harp, celesta, 14 1st violins, 12 2nd violins, 10 violas, 8 violoncellos, 7 double-basses - all strings divided)


I     Echoes

II    Yearning for Silence

           Duration I and II: 12 minutes

III   Shadows at Night

IV   Midnight Fever

            Duration III and IV: 7 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 sounds have died down at night. Then one can experience the artificial acoustic of long corridors and large 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 which seems to 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 violent revolt that strikes 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.