Since the reference possibilities of a single contrabass clarinet tone are multilayered, I conceived this work with multiple ways in mind of perceiving one reality. When imagination contradicts reality and despite unambiguous evidence, remains unchanged because of wrong information, false conclusions, emotions, judgments, and opinions—a misunderstanding become an error.
An example of the above is Tycho Brahe (1546–1601), a Danish astronomer who dedicated his life to observing the sky with a naked eye (without telescope), using astrological instruments he invented. He documented his observations for decades with great accuracy. He determined the positions and movements of the planets, especially Mars, with such precision that Johannes Kepler (1571–1630) relied on Brahe’s measurements to formulate his laws of planetary motion. Kepler followed Copernicus in arguing that planets, including Earth, move alongside ellipses around the Sun. Brahe, too, reasoned on the basis of his observations that the sky moves in empty space instead of a crystal sphere, but he nonetheless stood by Aristotle and Ptolemy, who believed a motionless Earth stays at the centre of the universe—contrarily to the data he had gathered and which contradicted that theory.
I have also found the thematic area of “contradiction, error, missing centre” in Gertrude Stein’s Rooms, a text from the Tender Buttons collection (1914). At one point, Stein writes, “Act so that there is no use in a centre.” Through words, sentences, and paragraphs, Stein points to ambiguous centres and at the same time, tries to resolve them with artistic means. The title of my work, tender pink descender, is a paraphrase of that text.
My thanks go to the Academy of Arts in Berlin, in whose buildings I composed the work.
Frankfurt, 6 August 2009