Trapeze was written in 1992 on a commission from the European Community Chamber Orchestra, an ensemble performing without conductor, exactly like its American counterpart Orpheus.
The title refers to the acrobat´s time-honored device, the `trapeze´, suspended from under the ceiling of the circus marquee, way above the audience watching the daring acrobat, hanging from the trapeze, performing breathtakingly complex – and highly dangerous turns and twists. And who knows, maybe without a safety net?
Being conceived as a piece for chamber orchestra performing without the common safety net of a
conductor, the slightly `tongue-in-cheek´ title seems pretty obvious to me. The pulse of the piece is a persistent ´one´, eg. the individual player doesn’t have to count unnecessary subdivisions; each bar equals the beat, which allows for having diverse meters inside the same bar in the various parts, such as simultaneous 5/8 and 3/4.
Trapeze is a show-piece emulating the seesawing movements of the performing acrobat: up, down, backwards, sideways…
Without safety net!
- Poul Ruders