Zeynep Gedizlioglu

Throwing shadows – Zeynep Gedizlioglu

A rapidly upward surging piano gesture gently reverberating in the other instruments; a dying chord which lives on in its contours until a new gesture and a new reverberation is superimposed over it, – other works by Zeynep Gedzlioglu, too, begin in a similar way to her work for ensemble Yol (The Path). The alternation between impulse and echo is one of the composer’s central dramaturgic and formal principles. On the one hand, the listener is confronted with a strong and arresting opening gesture, an often positively physical attack. On the other hand, a space opens up in the shadow of these events which we have good reason to call the essence of her approach. It is a space in which compression and strata are prepared, staggered entries alternating between activity and attentive rest, as in Susma (Do Not Be Silent, 2007), Zeynep Gedizlioglu’s second string quartet. It is due in equal measure to the composer’s will to make a statement (the piece is dedicated to the memory of the journalist Hrant Dink, who was murdered in 2007) and to the creative scope of such a procedure that the relationship between trigger and that which is triggered, between explosive gesture and static sound is reversed. From about half way through the piece roughened surfaces agglomerate increasingly to figures with a defined trajectory, similar to those that up to that point had released the constant sound of composed reverberation: objects that cast shadows are themselves but shadows, figures that appear to be solid only appear to be so.

The titles of pieces such as Dengesiz Denklemler / Unequal Equations (2006) for clarinet and violoncello point to this kind of playing with non-identities; but it also defines other pieces right up to the smallest detail. In Akdenizli (The Mediterranean)for Violin, Viola and piano (2007), and in the already mentioned second string quartet Susma rhythmic and ornamental variations of the same motive are layered over each other, producing a heterophony, which may have been picked up from traditional music forms, but which also blurs the edges of each figure, without entirely giving up its differentiability. This accumulation of the similar does not have to limit itself to the horizontal axis of the temporal-rhythmic succession, as Kesik (Cut) for 12 instruments (2010) demonstrates, in which entire melody lines are reproduced in the vertical, bound into a concertante structure that contrasts registers, instrumental groups and solo lines. In both cases the result is striking: precisely composed approximation, precision without constraints, polyphony without diffusion. Zeynep Gedzlioglu’s music is an emphatic plea for the value of heterogeneous and individual difference.

Markus Böggemann