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ter Schiphorst, Iris: Das Imaginäre nach Lacan (2017) 23'
for performer (female), orchestra, sampler and live-electronics

Music Text


Helga Utz (G), after Poetry by Arab writers


2.2.1.bcl.1.dbn-2.2.1.btrbn.0-timp(=cym,crot,tam-t).perc(3):I=3susp.cym(hi,med,lo)/BD/brush/2wdbl/metal bl/4cowbell(muted)/3susp.cym(muted); II=4susp.cym/t.bells(G,F)/dr set(crash cym/hi-hat/SD/4tom-t/2wdbl); III=gong/2susp.cym(hi,lo)/bass marimba-pft-sampler-strings(; 4additional thundersheets with transducer; amplification

Abbreviations (PDF)


This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.

World Premiere

Konzerthaus, Großer Saal, Wien
Salome Kammer, voice / Webern Symphonie Orchester / Orchestre du Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de / Ilan Volkov

Programme Note


"In this ‘experimental setup,’ the soloist Salome Kammer embodies a woman in two roles: an Arab and a European," so Iris ter Schiphorst. "In the course of the piece, she oscillates back and forth between these two roles. Through partly verbatim repetitions of musical material – however in different roles – our perception comes into focus. How do the images develop in our minds? Do we not always look as if through a veil and visualize our own personal picture?"The text by Helga Utz is based on poems from the Arabian region, primarily from pre- and early Islamic times. In the ancient Bedouin tribes, poets, and above all poetesses, had a high status. The poems almost always have to do with descriptions of a world that is in disarray, a world that one can only sensibly face with uncompromising humanism.
The title refers to the theory of the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, who designates the "imaginary" as one of the three registers of the psyche. The imaginary – the relationship between the ego and the ideal ego – is a place of self-identification, of self-discovery, but also of misconception and illusion.

Press Quotes

"From oriental-inspired cantilenas to extrovert patterns approaching American popular music, the stylistic range was wide. So vivid and malleable was the musical material, so effective the word-setting that the resulting images will resonate long in the mind for many."
Der Standard

"Both the scenic realisation and the music itself generated great dramatic tension, while the electronically extended orchestra produced a sonic landscape of unusual force."
Wiener Zeitung

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