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Magnus Lindberg

Publisher: Chester Music

Joy (1990)
commissioned by Ensemble InterContemporain and Fondation Totale pour la musique
Edition Wilhelm Hansen, Helsinki
Sub Category
Chamber Orchestra
Year Composed
30 Minutes

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Programme Note
Joy is scored for large ensemble of 23 players including live electronics. The piece is despite of its autonomous character part of a triptych for orchestra in which I have tried to extend my musical language in several directions. The first piece of this serie was Kinetics for large symphony orchestra (1988-89) - a piece where I for the first time included some spectral aspects of harmony. The main principle of the piece was a differentation of harmonies in foregrounds and backgrounds - with a clear hierarchy between the different layers. Marea (1989-90) for Mozart-size orchestra continued in the same footsteps but instead of a clear distinction of different harmonic aspects I was interested in the collision between spectral and serial based harmonies.
In Joy the different harmonical aspects are combined with even a third layer which is the timbral aspect of harmony. In addition to the acoustic instruments the orchestra includes an AKAI S1000 sampler and the YAMAHA SY77 synthesizer. All the sounds of the sampler have as origin the same sound source, the demolition of a grand piano. Sounds were recorded destroyng an old grand piano - low bass strings tuned down one or even two octaves, percussive sounds when cutting or tearing strings etc. All these sounds were transfered to the VAX computer at IRCAM where they were then transformed and treatened. Many of the originally inharmonic sounds (non-pitch sounds) were forced to some pitch by means of filtering. Non-continuous sounds were made continuous or irregular sounds were forced to become regular. The fascination with all these treatments lays evidently in the capasity of forcing a different nature or behavior onto a sound or to enhance some hidden aspects of a complex sound. In the same time the super-realistic concrete aspects of the sound become less dominating giving more possibilities to combine them with acoustical instruments.
The formal principle of the piece is based on combinations of different harmonic material. Spectral harmonies are overlapping each other, set theory based symmetrical chords are combined with other chords into chains of harmonic progression. Spectral and symmetrical chords are superpositioned (background-foreground or polyharmony) allowing to work with continuous or abrupt changes of harmonies . This method of counterpoint is particularly rich in its allowing of working with diagonal connections of different layers. I see an analogy to the functional harmony of tonal music where a chord gets different tensions according to the previous or following chord.

I want to acknowledge my gratitude to Arnaud Pétit and Juhani Liimatainen who worked together with me at IRCAM realizing the electronic part of the piece.

© Magnus Lindberg

  • Ensemble
    Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra / Avanti! Chamber Orchestra
    Jukka-Pekka Saraste
  • Ensemble
    Ensemble InterContemporain
    Peter Eötvös
    IRCAM Ades:
  • 09 DEC 2017
    New World Center, Miami Beach, FL
    New World Symphony
    Jeffrey Milarsky, conductor
  • 09 NOV 2016
    Wien, Austria
    Orchester der Universität für Musik Wien
    Jean-Bernard Matter, conductor
  • 27 JUN 2015
    Life is ... World Premiere
    Art Factory, Porvoo, Finland
    Valtteri Malmivirta, trombone; Hannu Lintu, conductor
  • 06 MAY 2014
    Los Angeles, CA
    Los Angeles Philharmonic
    Jeff Milarsky, conductor
  • 06 MAY 2014
    Los Angeles, CA
    Los Angeles Philharmonic
    Jeff Milarsky, conductor
  • 05 OCT 2008
    CBSO Centre, Birmingham
    Birmingham Contemporary Music Group
    Oliver Knussen, conductor
  • 02 JUN 2006
    Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France
    Hannu Lintu, conductor
  • 22 MAY 2005
    musikFabrik im WDR
    WDR Funkhaus am Wallrafplatz, Cologne, Germany
    musikFabrik / Ensemble für Neue Musik
    Stefan Asbury, conductor
  • 21 AUG 2001
    Schleswig Holstein Festival
    Avanti! Chamber Orchestra
    Magnus Lindberg, conductor
  • Joy New York Premiere
    The Juilliard School of Music

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