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ECLAT 2018 – A Preview of the Festival Programme

This year's ECLAT Festival will feature performances of works by a total of 37 composers from 16 different countries. To give sufficient space and attention to this multiplicity of singular artistic voices, ECLAT 2018 will, for the first time, be taking place over five days. The programme is characterized by encounters between outstanding performers: Quator Diotima will meet the Sugawara-Hemmi Piano Duo, the Calefax Reed Quintet will come together with the Neue Vocalsolisten, the SWR Vokalensemble with Trio Catch. A combination of strong contrasts results in an exciting festival dramaturgy. Poetic, dramatic and also utopian journeys are undertaken, and the consequences of human action are examined artistically in several music theatre and performance projects.

A combination of strong contrasts results in an exciting festival dramaturgy. Poetic, dramatic and also utopian journeys are undertaken, and the consequences of human action are examined artistically: the satellite of the festival brings together videos, sound installations, objects and performance. The composers of stock11 will subject the concept of music to questioning and critique in all its current facets. ECLAT will open with the prizewinners’ concert for the 62nd Composition Prize of the State Capital Stuttgart. Alongside the prizewinning works by Juliana Hodkinson and Malte Giesen, the programme will also feature pieces by Lisa Streich, Kirsten Reese and François Sarhan.

In his performance Infinissage, Johannes Kreidler (Concert 2) will lead the audience through indefinitely extendable lists, collections and compilations from the desk, at the piano, on the electric guitar and playing bicycle bells. Following the model of the historical navigational maps known as portolan chartsTristan Murail’s composition of the same name will go through nine stations presenting new perspectives on objects, places and ideas that were meaningful in his life (Concert 3). Laurent Durupt’s ANTHROPOSCENE: How to Talk to Clouds (Concert 4) is a search for modes of artistic-aesthetic creation in the primarily scientifically-based Anthropocene era.

Sonic confrontation and the merging of different sonic apparatuses are the themes of a carefully-selected programme presented by the piano duo of Yukiko Sugawara and Tomoko Hemmi in conjunction with Quator Diotima (Concert 5). Based on small everyday observations, the composer Clemens Gadenstätter and the author Lisa Spalt examine the interplay of speaking, seeing and listening in the music theatre work Daily Transformations (Concert 6).
Saturday begins with Distance: an intricate musical installation (Concert 7) by Marianthi Papalexandri-Alexandri. With a special lighting concept, she visualizes the sounds of Séverine Ballon’s cello and her motor-operated sound objects. Directly after this micro-listening theatre, Trio Catch and the SWR Vokalensemble will venture glances into the future with, among other music, a very special work – voiced void – by Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf. Using selected texts, the work examines the messianic in Jewish theology, and thus the question of how to achieve a better world (Concert 8).

Under the heading ‘Morphing Relations’, Concert 9 will feature works for voices and reed instruments that examine in a variety of ways what happens when completely different things happen at exactly the same time. It deals with unexpected, unplannable coincidences, and the sonic coherence of seemingly irreconcilable components. Raphael Sbrzesny will send the audience at the sports hall of the Theaterhaus through a course of sculptures, video and sound installations in which terror and male heroism are thematized from different perspectives. Sbrzesny’s video work, Principal Boy, refers to the France-Germany soccer match on 13 November 2015 at the Stade de France in Paris, when the city was shaken by several Islamist terror attacks (Concert 10).

We find a completely different kind of existentiality in the next performance, Sous Vide, with music by Dmitri Kourliandski and performance by Aliénor Dauchez. She acts out existential questions in the confinement of a refrigerator (Concert 11). The focal point of the first concert on Sunday (Concert 12) is Gordon Kampe’s frivolously grotesque operetta Schummellümmelleichen und schrille Tentakel, written for the countertenor Daniel Gloger and ascolta, using texts by Schorsch Kamerun and others. Kampe’s aim is to finally recover what operetta once had, but then lost: subversive wickedness through marked exaggeration.

The late afternoon (Concert 13) will see an encounter between three fundamentally different composers. Two of them composed pieces specifically for the Neue VocalsolistenGeorges Aperghis, who has a long-standing relationship with the ensemble, and Martón Illés, with his first piece for the Vocalsolisten. As always, the festival will be concluded by a concert featuring the SWR Symphony Orchestra and soloists, this time in unusual combinations. Juliana Hodkinson combines solo electric guitar and orchestra and Mike Svoboda makes the alto saxophone the solo instrument, while Iris ter Schiphorst assigns this role to the contrabass clarinet. Between all these exotic sound worlds we will hear Lágrimas, the quiet last work by Mariano Etkin, who died in 2016.