Rebecca Saunders in Portrait

Happy New Ears at the Frankfurt Opera

»I am interested in the transition between nonsound and something concrete, the transition from silence into silence, from noise into sound.« Rebecca Saunders has given concrete shape to this interest since the early 1990s. Ensemble Modern dedicates a portrait concert featuring three chamber music works to the British composer, who celebrates her 50th birthday in December 2017, as part of the series ›Happy New Ears‹ at the Wooden Foyer of the Frankfurt Opera on February 27, 2017. ›dichroic seventeen‹ (1998) for accordion, electric guitar, piano, percussion, cello and two double basses creates contrasting sound-worlds directly interrelated. It was inspired by the ability of some crystals to fragment light into various directions and into two colours. Twelve years later, when Saunders held the position of »Capell-Compositrice « at the Staatskapelle Dresden, she wrote the concerto ›Fury II‹ for double bass and ensemble, lasting about 15 minutes and veering between sound and noise (the solo part will be played by Paul Cannon on February 27). Finally, ›Stirrings Still I‹ (2016) for five players refers to Samuel Beckett’s last text of the same title; in its quiet, fragile construction, it also documents Saunders’ concept of silence: to her, it is »a knot of noise, frequencies and sounds. From this surface of apparent silence, I try to liberate and shape the sounds«. Rebecca Saunders will also answer questions from Enno Poppe, who conducts the evening.