1969/70 BAU for chamber orchestra

BAU (1969/70), for chamber orchestra, was written for the original ASKO Orchestra, when I was still its conductor and artistic director. Its framework architecture is a multi-layered structure based entirely on the golden section. The music serves as the articulation of that section. The music therefore is defined in terms of mass, texture and field, of layers and densities, of augmentation (towards the ‘section’) and diminution (away from it). At its most complex, four separate layers are active simultaneously and the use of clearly distinctive instrumental groups makes it generally possible to distinguish between these layers.

Complexity and stratification, conflict and coherence, force and counterforce, individual and collective, growth and decay – they are all part of a world view that had gradually formed within me, and were all desperately seeking an outlet in my music. Or was it perhaps the other way round?…

My interest in complexity can be partly explained by my boundless admiration for Bach, for the vitality, richness and complexity of his music. His work has been my lifelong model where polyphony or the simultaneous activity of different layers are concerned. But whereas Bach’s main inspiration had religious origins, I prefer Nature to inspire me. One of my preoccupations with Bach’s music is expressed in a definition I drew up with regard to the dynamics of a fugue: a network of voices, each of which is fighting for maximum individuality in a system that uses this very quest to achieve optimal coherence. This paradox generates a particular version of ‘life’, and the creation of life seems to me music’s main objective. Polyphony is almost a conditio sine qua non in musical dialectics, and in several of my works I tried to breathe new life into that concept.