One of Europe’s foremost institutions of electronic music experimentation, the Elektronmusikstudion EMS in Stockholm celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2014. CTM is honoured to invite Mats Lindström, current head of EMS, to direct a two-hour multichannel electroacoustic sound projection entitled “Images of the Dream and Death”, composed by Swedish-Hungarian electroacoustic pioneer Akós Rózmann (1939 – 2005).
"Images of the Dream and Death" is an attempt by Rózmann to "portray Good and Evil", which the composer himself describes as only partially successful:
"My intention in composing this work was, with the aid of sound, EMS and the studio of the State Academy of Music in Stockholm between August 1974 and June 1977, to portray Good and Evil. I failed, however, to depict Good 'idealistically'. The ﬁgures which I use here are always characteristic of deserted, anxious, weeping humanity. When I conjure forth the Good in the introduction to a piece, other 'forces' soon make themselves felt. The beginning of the third movement, for example, reminds one of the sound of distant bells. These approaching impulses inspire peace and serenity, but all the alien elements which then reveal themselves stand in the way of ‘development’; their impact is devastating. The sound of the bells becomes muddied, it is transferred beyond recognition and ﬁnally ceases." – Ákos Rózmann (from Nutida Musik nr. 3 1977/78)
Produced by Rózmann at the EMS between 1974 and 2001, "Images of the Dream and Death" underwent four separate versions, the fourth and last of which was released in 2013 on Editions Mego sublabel Ideologic Organ, curated by Stephen O’Malley. Rózmann last performed the piece himself in 2001, but in general refused to be present at his own concerts, instead specifically delegating the task to Mats Lindström, with whom he had developed an intense collaboration at the EMS in the 1990s.
Throughout the piece’s many revisions and performance attempts that never quite satisfied the composer, Rózmann’s work continues to sound haunting to the human ear decades after its initial creation:
"The lingering feeling after hearing the works of Ákos Rózmann is the intangibility of naming what that lingering feeling is. Anyone who hears his music is moved, in as many ways possible, but why they have been moved and where to, is as difﬁcult to put a ﬁnger on as to catch a small ﬂeck in a bowl of water, always in sight, but forever slipping from our grasp. There is an undeﬁnable “otherness” to his music, some might call it a strangeness, an alienness, but whatever label one chooses to apply, the actual listening to his music and the afterburn in our memory ﬂit between each other, clouding just what his music 'is'." – Jim O’Rourke, Tokyo 2013
Mats Lindström will also give a lecture with diffusions of seminal works produced at the EMS directly preceding this sound diffusion.
Ákos Rózmann (1939-2005) was a Hungarian-Swedish modernist composer and organist, notable for his epic electroacoustic compositions inspired by Buddhist and Catholic liturgy.
Mats Lindström is the studio director of the legendary Elektronmusikstudion (EMS) in Stockholm. His most recent work, МИГ (“MIG”), was released in 2012 on Ideologic Organ, the Editions Mego sublabel headed by Sunn O)))’s Stephen O’Malley.