Composition Commissions issued to Pauset, Bladt, Schurig and Mahnkopf: Variationen

Ensemble SurPlus, Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany


The project Variationen (Variations) is devoted to the sources of friction between historical developments and current day expectations by means of four commission compositions supported by the EvS Music Foundations that will explore the historical and the timeless aspects of the variation concept. Here they pick up on the most varied of realms of experience, each with their own points of reference of a musical, literary, philosophical and architectural nature.

Between now and 2022 Brice Pauset is planning a largescale variation cycle in eight parts that – as a nod to Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations – will total 33 variations. All parts relate to Karl Marx’ work Das Kapital and reflect musical issues in economics, politics and philosophy. Saskia Bladt will be writing an homage to Don Quixote – inspired by Richard Strauss’ Fantastic Variations on a Theme of Knightly Character. The composer makes a dual reference here: both to Cervantes and to Strauss thus to a certain extent creating a double variation. Wolfram Schurig will be composing a double quartet: piano with three stringed instruments and piano with three wind instruments with only one piano playing in both groups thus serving as a pivot. Both quartets form alternate variations for the other side thereby generating dramatic conflicts. Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf will be writing a polyptych as a kind of "Hommage à George Steiner" where seven musicians will play a multitude of miniatures that relate to each other within a clearly defined temporal grid. All miniatures are variations on a musical substance although they all exude a very different feel because their focus lies on the idiomatics of the instruments

The variations determine the instrumental ensemble in its structure which takes on a different line-up in each case, including a peculiar mirror image (Schurig) or as a group of individuals (Mahnkopf). The projected program will itself become a fabric of variations as a result of this.



Großer Saal, E-Werk Freiburg



SWR Concerto Series Jetztmusik, expected to be held at Kunststiftung Erich Hauser in Rottweil

Zentrum für Gegenwartsmusik at the music and theater academy HMT Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Leipzig

Series Neue Musik by the Gesellschaft für Neue Musik Mannheim, expected to be held in the Florian Waldeck Hall of the Reiss-Engelhorn Museums


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