Nacht - Hirngespinste für Kammerorchester,
op. 14 (1996-1997)

Nacht – Hirngespinste, for Orchestra
Today, our electrified nights have been de-mythologized. And in the second half of the 20th century, we have taken dreams more and more out of the realm of psychoanalysis and have led them into the sober laboratories of
neurobiology. My Nacht is a fictitious night, not one that was actually experienced, but an artifi cial, hypothetical night. It is a depiction of a real night - perhaps on a scale of 1 : 60 – and lasts a good ten minutes. It is thus a ‘transcomposed’ night. In it, two nocturnal habits common today are contrasted with each other: on the one hand there is the bored zapping in front of the bright, glittering, coloured matt screen and on the other hand our subsequent sleep in its different phases. While TV surfing juxtaposes the most crass opposites in a fragmentary manner, all opposites are immediately bound together in a dream, and transitions are accomplished with ease between what would otherwise seem to be impossible to connect. ‘Transcomposition’ here means a type of programme music that does not merely wish to evoke the superficial impression of an extra-musical ‘scenario’ in the listener, but a music that attempts to depict many-layered realities exactly, as if through a microscope. Thus Nacht is fundamentally determined by nocturnal changes in the frequency of one’s pulse, one’s body temperature and one’s breathing, but also by diverse electronic
brain patterns depicted in wave-like fashion, that occur in the different waking and sleeping states. Nacht was written to a commission from the Berne Chamber Orchestra and the Basle Music Credit Commission. It is dedicated in friendship to the conductor of its fi rst performance, Johannes Schlaefli.