First performance: 20 January, 2020 – Berlin
Pierre Boulez Saal
Jörg Widmann, clarinet
As most of my instrumental pieces, Joyce is also based on a literary source.
My first string quartet Korrespondenz transferred the correspondence between Leopold and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, at times word by word, to the world of music, whose strong dramatic character effectively reflects the conflicts between father and son.
I found the closest literary references to my second string quartet, which takes its listeners to the world of Odysseus and the sirens, in the works of Joyce, Homer and Kafka. The string quartet is enriched with an additional soprano part, which tells the classic story from three different perspectives. The complete title of my second string quartet is The Sirens Cycle, consisting of three movements: Joyce – Homer – Kafka.
The twenty-minute-long duration of the first movement of the cycle Joyce allows it to be performed independently. This time, the vocal part accompanied by the strings is replaced by a solo clarinet, which – instead of giving a verbal account of Chapter 11 of Joyce’s Ulysses – renders the quite masculine protagonist, Leopold Bloom’s musing over the attractive barmaids with befittingly vigorous musical gestures.
Joyce for clarinet and string quartet immerses in James Joyce’s unique world and typical imaginative word creations, placing them into the world of musical composition.