The composition "CTRL Variations" by the Luxembourg percussionist and musician Pascal Schumacher was written in 2008. It is based on a libretto by the British writer Ian Monk and typographically realized by Michel Welfringer, a childhood friend of Pascal Schumacher. This composition appears for the first time as a recording on double vinyl.
"We all used the MSN messenger service at the time. It was inspiring, abstract, and very new for us", Pascal Schumacher explains the basic idea. In "CTRL Variations," three people are represented by monitors on stage who communicate with each other, as in a chat. "Musically, CTRL Variations is a 'one-to-one' setting of Ian Monk's texts," Schumacher continues. Ian Monk belongs to the French Oulipo circle of authors. (L'Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle | French. "Workshop for Potential Literature") These authors voluntarily submit to certain constraints and rules. The result is a varied relationship story that works via modern electronic devices. "There are bugs and spam; there are hackers who take control - This music is a contemporary testimony of our world at that time," muses Schumacher. The title "CTRL Variations" comprises the name of the "Control" key on the computer and the variations in the lyrics and music. "Ian's particular writing style and the apparent Oulipo influences result in a clear rhythm in the lyrics. I was able to extract an evident drive from this rhythm very quickly," explains the studied vibraphonist. In turn, graphic artist Michel Welfringer used the rhythm for his text animation. "Small melodic interjections always refer to specific passages of text. A lot is written or sounds between the lines."
At the time, the Luxembourg-based ensemble gave the premiere for the new music "United Instruments of Lucilin." This ensemble has existed since 1999 and is dedicated and passionate about works of the 20th and 21st centuries. As a result, they have long since become known beyond the borders of Luxembourg. Guy Frisch, the artistic director of the ensemble, ultimately motivated Pascal Schumacher to compose the "CTRL Variations" quite simply by giving him and his two comrades-in-arms a carte blanche for the festival of new music "Rain Days" in the Luxembourg Philharmonie.
"At the sonic center of CTRL Variations is always the pianist Pascal Meyer, who simultaneously operates a Fender Rhodes like a piano. But the low marimba and the bass clarinet, for example, also decisively underline this constant movement in the music", explains Pascal Schumacher. Finally, after almost 15 years, it was possible to record the music of "United Instruments of Lucilin." "Fortunately, most of the musicians were the same as at the premiere," recalls Pascal Schumacher, who, as a composer, was present at the recording. "I was very excited at first because it was not clear how I would feel about this composition of mine. But quite quickly, I was reassured and very happy that this music had been brought back to life." That was mainly because the young Luxembourg conductor Pit Brosius quickly managed to find the groove of this composition. "He found facets in my score that I almost couldn't remember myself," Pascal Schumacher reports with admiration.
"Seen from a distance, CTRL Variations has even taken on a vintage character," laughs Pascal Schumacher, who recalls his first attempts in the digital chat community with amusement. That's where the idea of releasing the recording only on high-quality vinyl comes from. Neither Guy Frisch from Ensemble nor I have ever mentioned the word CD," affirms Schumacher, who is increasingly making a name for himself as a composer. One of his latest compositions, "Prismatica," has just been recorded and released by the Goldmund Quartet.
"CTRL Variations" is available on all music platforms.
VIOLIN → LÉO BELTHOISE
VIOLA → SOPHIE URHAUSEN
CELLO → JEAN PHILIPPE MARTIGNONI
TRANSVERSE FLUTE → SOPHIE DESHAYES
CLARINET → MAX MAUSEN
PIANO/FENDER RHODES → PASCAL MEYER PERCUSSION → GUY FRISCH
PIT BROSIUS, CONDUCTOR
PIT BROSIUS, DIRIGENT