First performance: 2 April 2008
Ensemble Modern, Frankfurt
OCTET was commissioned by the Reina Sofia School of Music and was composed in memoriam of Stockhausen.
The number ‘8’ is linked to Stockhausen in many ways as he would’ve been 80 years old in 2008. He was mostly using the 8-channel sound technique within his electronic compositions such as in the ‘Octophonie’ .
OCTET is the realization of Samuel Beckett’s radio play “Embers”, from which I took out some extracts and used it for OCTET .
The unusual wind-instrument set-up (Flute, Clarinet, two Bassoons, two Trumpets, two Trombones) makes it possible for the players to play it on the same program as Stravinsky’s Octet.
Text: fragments from Beckett’s Embers
That sound you hear is the sea, we are sitting on the strand.
I mention it because the sound is so strange, so unlike the sound of the sea,
that if you didn´t see what it was you wouldn´t know what it was.
I never finished anything, everything always went on for ever.
Now Miss! Elbows in Miss! Hands down Miss! Now Miss!
Back straight Miss! Knees in Miss! Now Miss! Tummy in Miss!
Chin up Miss! Now Miss! Eyes front Miss! Now Miss! Now Miss!
Waiting in the dark, no light, only the light of the fire,
and no sound of any kind, only the fire.
Dead silence then, not a sound, only the fire.
Silence in the house, not a sound.
I hope you put on your jaegers. Did you put on your jaegers, Henry?
Henry: What happened was this, I put them on and then I took them off again and then I put them on again and then I took them off again and then I took them on again and then I –
Ada: Have you them on now?
Henry: I don´t know.