Esther Flückiger - piano, electronics, sound sculptures, seashell horn
All compositions by Esther Flückiger
“With this composition, I want to explore the subject of migration and thus the feeling of homelessness in a differentiated perspective: reflect, express and create music that is not indifferent to the place of performance.”
The starting point for the composition and the entire project was an examination of the subject of migration. In recent years, Esther Flückiger, the composer and pianist of Verso Nikà, has often been staying on the island of Pantelleria at Karin Eggers’, an artist of the project, who has a deep involvement with the island and its territory. The idea for a collective interdisciplinary project developed through intense discussions on the subject of migration. Pantelleria is a place which, due to its geographical position and for political and cultural reasons, means much more than it appears to be. The island has become a landing point for massive boats of refugees. Pantelleria is located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, between Europe and Africa, and for thousands of years has been a meeting point of culture, transit and trade.It was immediately clear to Karin and Esther that Susana Talayero should also be part of the team. The three artists of different nationalities are connected by many years of friendship and collaboration. Italy unites them as the country of their artistic and personal development.They formulated the following guiding thoughts for the project:
“The flow of refugees in recent years has been forcing us to observe what is happening around us and show it to others. By all means we must highlight events, that are forgotten all too easily in everyday life. With this performance we want to keep the interest in the life stories of these people alive.” The intense three-year collaboration via internet led to concrete and complex planning and creation of the project. Esther travelled to Pantelleria as soon as Karin had completed the sound sculptures (tonality: a structure based on the Arabic sound system Maqam). She studied the sounds of the sculptures and sketched three pieces, which she later refined into the full composition with her piano pieces and electronic audio files. At the same time, Susana drew several sketches and found her idea for the picturesque installation. The integrated texts were drafted by art critic and writer Toni Maraini, who has written numerous texts on the subject of migration.
Verso Nikà conveys the music by Esther Flückiger for piano, seashell horn, sound sculptures (sculptor: Karin Eggers), in dialogue with her electronic compositions, painting and performing actions by Susana Talayero and the texts by Toni Maraini. The music, the painting, the sound sculptures represent the poetic and emotional part. The human voice in the texts by Toni Maraini, forms the philosophical-analytical antithesis, always in contrast to the music – a multi-layered communication between thoughts and emotions, a journey that reflects the tragic situation of migration between two continents.The entire acoustic and electronic composition is shaped by the idea of a sound composition. However, the sound and rhythm materials of the separate parts, in which changes in sound and colouring of sound through the use of electronic compositions play an important role, are heterogeneous. The electronic parts are an antipole to the acoustic music of the instruments. They dissolve the traditional sound system and lead to this very specific form of sound composition. The electronic output sounds are almost exclusively recordings of self-played instruments or noises.
The musical structure is divided into three parts and within these three parts it is divided into scenes.
Part 1: Leaving the Homeland – Departure
Part 2: Crossing – Movement
Part 3: Getting Along in the Foreign Land – Coping with Exile
Esther Flückiger chose titles for each scene – a form of libretto – which served for the overall structure of her composition. Examples of some titles:
There is no space – Abandoned teeth – humid place, watery fears, long arms – Immense fury of the wind, dropping sweat – Strange creatures appear –
Waiting for dawn to reappear – Exiled figures on the new path – Inhabited soul, waiting for the emptiness to pass
The composition includes three “Leitmotifs”:
Vogelruf (sample, electronic) symbol for migration
camminare (electronic) an African rhythm
arab (piano) an Arabic theme
Harmonically, the music moves in an area where tonality and atonality overlap, linking the Arabic and European tonal systems. The world premiere took place on 18 and 19 August 2018 on the rocky coast of Pantelleria. The title refers to the bay of Nikà on Pantelleria with its view of Africa, where in the past numerous migrants went ashore. The piano, this very classical concert instrument, symbolizes the magnitude of the theme. It floats on the water on a platform (designed by Karin Eggers) resembling a boat, which is placed on a rock like a swing. The multidimensional approach to the complex issue of migration calls for unconventional considerations: Art has both the power to overcome rational or scientific limits and the ability to generate profound signs and immortal thoughts.
Download the entire e-booklet free of charge here: pv_cd_ebooklet_103_web.pdf
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The video about Verso Nikà can be viewed here: youtube - Verso Nikà