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Chiyoko Szlavnics, Immortal Beginnings (2021) UA

Catherine Lamb, Curva Triangulus, Neufassung (2021) UA

The tuning system in music has been the subject of experimentation since at least the Antiquity: the fact that an impure octave results from a sequence of pure intervals has been occupying theorists and practitioners since Pythagoras, according to legend. During the Renaissance period, various solutions were proposed – in short: a tonal system with 12 steps per octave is far from sufficient to implement the various tuning systems, and new instruments were developed accordingly. The arciorgano invented by Nicola Vicentino (1511-1576) has been passed down over the centuries. Inspired by ancient enharmonics, which used intervals smaller than the semitone, he constructed the instrument with 36 notes to the octave, which extended the transposable elements of mid-tone tuning. However, the topic was not fully explored during the Renaissance period. In today’s compositional practices, it is standard to deviate from the twelve equal-tempered tones of, say, the piano. With Catherine Lamb and Chiyoko Szlavnics, we have picked two composers whose works deal intensively with tonal systems. And not for the sake of theory, but also to create their own very individual worlds of sound. To be able to play this music at all, we have to replace the piano and the modern harp with the arciorgano and a baroque harp. Through the collaboration with the Basel collective Studio 31+, the project allows us to experience musical research up close: through the close exchange between the female composers and the research department of the Academy of Music and the Academy of Art and Design (FHNW), Proton is able to come up with ground-breaking music of the 21st century and has its finger on the pulse – or is perhaps the pulse itself.

The Studio 31+ collective consists of musicians, researchers, composers and instrument builders. It researches and documents the ideas of tonal expansion within an octave. Collaboration with Studio 31+ is initially planned for two seasons: In 2022, works by Johannes Caspar Walter, Pascale Criton and Mark Sabat (as planned in November 2020) are to be premiered for arciorgano and the Ensemble Proton Bern.

Masks required.


Flöte: Bettina Berger. Oboe: Martin Bliggenstorfer. Klarinette: Richard Haynes. Fagott: Elise Jacoberger. Tripelharfe: Vera Schnider. Arciorgano: Samuel Fried. Violine: Maximilian Haft. Violoncello: Jan-Filip Ťupa.

Foto: Remo Ubezio

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