“Patterns” by Norbert Möslang, a piece (almost) set like music paper at the BFM

In 2018, St. Gallen station started flashing. Every second, a different combination of crosses, circles and squares appeared on its glass facade to the south. A clock then, but whose binary language had to be deciphered to grasp the time it indicated.

It was the work of St. Gallen artist Norbert Möslang. A master of diversion, of the unexpected. Not only in the field of installations, but also (and perhaps above all) in that of sound: Möslang’s watchword is to take malicious pleasure in parasitizing (by dismantling, reconnecting, hybridizing) everyday objects to actualize their hidden potentialities. Ever tried to make a light bulb sing? Him, yes; and it is very beautiful. And that also allows him to have a very good career: from 1972 with the duo Voice Crack, which he founded with Andy Guhl; solo since 2002; all crowned by a Swiss Music Prize (the distinction of the Federal Office of Culture) in 2014.

To read: Norbert Möslang, the craftsman of diversion

Let’s go back to St. Gallen station. It should be possible to convert this light pulse at 60 bpm into a musical object. And in fact, Möslang darkened a score, to create, in 2020 at the Polish label Bocian (“stork”), a piece named patterns. Imagined for the Baslers of the Phoenix Ensemble (soprano saxophone, bassoon, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, tuba), it will be given this Saturday, by the said formation, at the BFM as part of the large interdisciplinary festivities of the thirtieth anniversary of the Orchestra Chamber of Geneva.

Split into four movements, each typing in the quarter of an hour, patterns is a thoroughly intriguing work. Of course, it reproduces the purpose of the installation from which it is derived, advancing generally like a metronome set to the second; but it is extracted from what could be a pure regularity by a whole series of overlaps, overflows, dissonances which are prolonged. patterns (its instrumentarium indicates) is a piece made for blowers; it vibrates to the very human rhythm of the lungs.

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