Abwesenheit has been performed in Birmingham, Blacksburg, Prague and Vienna…
The material that inspired this work was a short audio recording made in the garden of the Beethoven Wohnung Heiligenstadt in Vienna (Austria)where, in 1802, Beethoven spent the latter half of the year seeking respite for his failing hearing. Although Heiligenstadt must surely not be as quiet a spot as it was 215 years ago, the historical resonance of the Beethoven Wohnung with its sounds and artefacts — distant chimes, a death mask, creaky floors, the resonance around hushed conversation—imparts a profound sense of absence. The work aims to embody this sentiment through amplification of spatial envelopment, growth and transformation of sonic energy, and submission into silence. The title is borrowed from second movement of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 26 op 81a, and the work was composed specifically for the Wiener Akusmonium (Vienna Acousmonium).
Special thanks to Thomas Gorbach.