(2000) for 11 players

B-cl (Cl), Sax (tenor & sop), Trp, Trb, 3Perc, Pf, Vn, Va, Vc

WDR Commission
Première : May 7,  2000, Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik 2000
Ictus conducted by Georges-Elie Octors
Duration: 10 minutes
Publisher :Breitkopf & Härtel

Audience Award at  Festival Ars Musica (Brussels - 2002)

In Greek mythology, the chimera is represented as a mythical creature having the head of a lion, the body of a sheep and the tail of a snake. In the natural sciences, a chimera is an organism produced by genetic manipulation in the laboratory, which unites the traits of two or more species. As long as the immune system has not been established, no rejection occurs and the chimera survives. This defence system sends chemical messsages to the cells, which report the presence of foreign bodies. Now, the cells have different ways of reacting to this information : they can remain passive, struggle to reproduce the dominant response form of their neighbouring cells, choose to die, etc. While these numerous messages are being sent, the original messages is modified and either triggers the production of antibodies, and in this way the intruders are brought under control, or sickness and the death of the organism follows. These responses are indiscernible at the level of the individual cell, yet at a higher level one can observe a feedback loop between the immune system and its environment, according to which the surroundings stimulate cell responses, which in turn influence the development of the environment. These are the elements that inspired the developmental characteristics of this piece : The introduction of a foreign body, the propagation of information, the production of antibodies, and the causation of conflict.

« Chimera » also owes much to techno music. The pulsating rhythm is continuous here, either expressly or in the background, and all the other elements are associated with it. Techno is usually played at a high volume and therefore the pulsation is perceived by the body and directly influences the cardiac rhythm. In this music, another reference to the organic lies in the repetition of short figures and in the work with electronic filters : this reminds me of the transfer and modification of chemical information between cells. I have tried to use these acoustic manipulations and to transpose them to traditional instruments. Their specific limitations compel to find new forms of playing and hitherto unknown sound structures. So what one finds here, for instance, is a playful use of the harmonies of the piano, which is the acoustic equivalent of filtration. This way, « Chimera » is nearly a piece of techno acoustics.

My musical chimera has a life span of 10 minutes. Various genetic materials are introduced into the « base embryo » (a rapid bongo rhythm here) and entail unforeseeable developments. The elements begin to conflict with each other or must change their own metabolism, which in turn influences the organism as a whole. The cells reproduce and change the message, which is decisive for the survival of this unnatural creature.

Misato Mochizuki