First Performance: 7 February 2008, Las Palmas
Finnish Radio Symph. Orch.
Conductor: Sakari Oramo
Sabine Mayer, Wolfgang Mayer
I remember an experience that made an unforgettable impression on me: at a Chinese opera performance I saw an artist balance a chicken feather on the tip of his nose and then made it move up in the air with very light, barely noticeable breaths. He made it dance, turn seemingly without weight, rise and fall until it finally came to rest on the tip of his nose again.
When I was working on Levitation I had this image in mind– objects dancing in the air free from the gyves of gravity, like in Marc Chagall’s paintings.
Nothing reaches the floor – to remain in the picture, in this composition; perhaps only once, a single time in the 2nd movement, when an accordion melody slowly sinks from high to low.
Just as elements can form bonds in chemistry, so are sound,images created in Levitation by mixing the „colours” of the two clarinets, the accordion and the string ensemble: the piece begins with a scene set in the street in an enormous storm: telephone boxes and traffic signs are uprooted by the wind; it is followed by a dream state, which often recurs in my works: My feet rose from the ground, hover about a metre above it. I certainly wasn’t flying but hovering over the landscape in a vertical posture. Then came gondolas floating over the water in lagoons and then the slowly rising body of a puppet, the “resurrection” of the fairy-tale character Petrushka
This is the chemistry of music.
/Peter Eötvös – 23 October, 2007/