Musique scintillante, Op. 108 (U.S. premiere)
One of the musicians who grew up in the heady years of the first Warsaw Autumn festivals, Krzysztof Meyer studied composition with Stanisław Wiechowicz and Penderecki in Krakow, and composition and piano with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. He has been professor of composition at the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne since 1987, and served as composer-in-residence with the Cologne Philharmonic (1991/1992) and at the Seattle Festival (1996).
“Music, literature, sculpture, painting, theater, film, and architecture are all subject to the same construction rules,” Meyer said in a 2013 interview. “We operate on repetitiveness, symmetry, the rule of the ‘golden ratio’ and the essential elements, which I regard as a proof for the existence of a certain common tendency of humans’ minds to create order and logical systems.”
Meyer’s compositions include eight symphonies, 15 concertos, 14 string quartets, and three operas, and he is also a prolific author of articles and monographs, including biographies of Shostakovich and Lutosławski.
In 2007 he was composer-in-residence at the Fürstensaal Classix (now CLASSIX Kempten) chamber music festival in Germany, where Musique scintillante – a fleet scherzo-like piece with an enigmatic, wait-for-it ending – was premiered.
“Musique scintillante is written for an ensemble of 14 musicians and uses a compositional technique that I have been working on for many years,” Meyer wrote. “The harmonic language, based upon symmetrical chords (alongside the interaction of sections functionally related to the overall form of the piece), represents a fundamental principle of my compositional technique.
“The piece forms a unified whole yet reveals a form consisting of several parts. A brief ‘introduction’ is followed by a strict section consisting of a complex interwoven texture of different motifs. The ever denser texture leads to an accumulation of complex chords forming a climax. Musique scintillante definitely represents the continuation of the search preceding it.
“And as always: I have attempted to develop further several technical methods used in the latest works while separating myself from those that did not yield satisfactory results.”
— John Henken