The music of Cord Meijering
20/10/99 22:34 Filed in: Music
A central issue of Meijerings work is the wide-ranging process of dissolution to which the occidental modes of thinking are submitted because of their linear and progress-oriented concepts of time. Natural processes such as shift, the migration of birds and quicksanding dunes which Meijering experienced during his childhood on the North Sea island of Spiekeroog have moulded the background of this awareness. It was more precisely shaped by later influences, by an encounter with modern hispano-american literature, in particular the essayistic oeuvre of the Mexican writer Octavio Paz. Meijering's music reflects all this in its continous changes between directed and open time passages, always merging into cyclical or spiral movements; in other words, his music is meant to be both the "product of a historical situation and society" and a "machine" producing a "counter-history" (Paz). It seems essential, at this point, to mention the composer's relation to the imagination and the construction, the two fundamentals of creative work. For Meijering, these two concepts are not antagonistic, hardly allowing for mediation, rather they command compositional principles, which derive creative energy from the tension between them. However, it is not a matter of finding a single solution by handling artistic material so that this tension is subdued, but rather of challenging this fundamental problem in every composition. Meijering does not consider himself an autonomous subject finding himself in a continous work process based upon reflections of past events, but rather as someone reacting to the dynamics of the present. This idea can be exemplified in three compositions.
The white corpse of wind starts with a dream vision: an old attic in a house by the sea, a breeze moves gently through broken windows, dust swirls around, mummies begin to play; a sound, almost like the sound of wind, a second sound, a third one, the intervals getting shorter; a dream mechanics of the mummified figures gets started.
This imaginative idea is not a programme for the music, nor is it reflected in a concept of construction which would deny the aesthetic violence resulting from it. Meijering's composition permanently mediates between theese two positions and focuses on them at the same time: although every note was set according to the golden rule, a surreal dream situation is present from the start, and with every sound event the atmospheric density of the music grows. After this complexity has reached its climax the work closes in a rhythmic retrogression ond loses itself in the sound of wind as in the opening bars.
A second solution is found by Meijering in his cycle of songs Rotfärbung des Flusses (reddening of the river). Here it is a wide range of changes in musical conditions which by their antagonism - as in the changes from the chaos of ecstasy to rigid minimalism and to gentle, contemplative sound episodes - contain a superimposed dramaturgy which is perceived by the ear as being in unmediated harmony. The organized interplay of emotions takes the place of formalized construction.
Yet another step further is taken by Meijering in his trio for strings "...bewegt..." (moved). He uses the creative process known from the surrealism as "écriture automatique", a concept which seems to deny constructionist thinking: the composer wrote this piece in the most varied situations, such as while he was in conversation on a motorway; inebriated; in nature on a summer's day; all of them situations which immediately deny the determination of constructive thinking. This extreme and arbitrary approach to composing does have an surprising result for the trio: although the possibility of constructive thinking had thereby been closed off the audience does experience sound relations and material connections which the very process of composition should have excluded. The danger of the utmost arbitrariness is kept in check by a deliberate closeness to it.
(Engl. translation by Wolfgang Riedel)