“Les Adieux is a piece dating from 2004, which I have now revised and is which is very important for me. It goes back to an invitation to a summer academy with the Ensemble Intercontemporain. At that time I was working on the sources for Dvorak’s Stabat Mater. It originated as his first major work in an extreme situation, where he had lost his first three children and was once again childless. This situation moved me greatly and I wrote Les Adieux, the three parts of which contain a farewell for each child.“
Les Adieux has a double point of reference; the title and musical material allude to Beethoven’s Sonata Op. 81a, quasi as Srnka’s “Kindertotenlieder” [songs on the deaths of children] for Dvořák. The opening cadence is built into the work as a hidden quotation, as a triple “Adieux” (Farewell). “The principle of Beethoven’s sonata is that he plays with the resolutions of the cadence in order to continually open up new formal possibilities for the piece. I have attempted to take this problem further, whereby the cadence is only present cryptically. I attempt to find post-Beethovenian solutions, as perhaps Dvorak might have developed in different phases.“
In scoring and sound, a layer of piano and bell instruments is very much present; these help to create clear accentuation, that is to say a non-amorphous sound picture. The compositional principle is a specific handling of the instrumentation, namely involving the entire forces in the examination of the material – that is, not reserving a musical gesture for one instrument, rather illuminating it in many ways in all the parts. Material is consciously detached from colour. Les Adieux was composed in 2004 for a masterclass with the Ensemble Intercontemporain under the direction of Peter Rundel, and received its premiere in November 2007 given by the Ensemble Modern and Matthias Pintscher. It is dedicated to Susanna Mälkki and Matthias Pintscher.
Marie Luise Maintz