The duration of the piece (eleven and a half minutes) is determined by the tape part, produced beforehand at the Institute for Electronic Music in Graz. The tape is started shortly after the beginning of the piece and continues running until the end. The diffusion of the tape's six channels creates a sonic space surrounding the audience. Each channel contains sounds that are precisely timed to interact with the live instruments in various ways. Furthermore, they produce a virtual reverberant space in which the actual instrumental sound is transformed by way of electronic manipulation, then further multiplied to different degrees, finally leading the solo instruments to a confrontation with themselves as mass duplicates: sonic distortion reaches the point of self-alienation.
There exists a kind of tonal axis, as is the case with several other of Olga Neuwirth's works. Here, the axis pitch is the tone d, symmetrically expanded by its chromatic neighbors (d-sharp and c-sharp) to form a mini-cluster. These central pitches repeatedly occur in the flute, distorted by breathing-noises, harmonic trills and various techniques of overblowing, as well as in the repetitive micro-clusters of the piano which are departure points for spatially expanding scales. Seven sections can be distinguished within the overall form, in which the initial material of the composition undergoes different treatments. The sections are separated by progressively shortened fermatas, the first one lasting 51 seconds, the last one 11. During these fermatas the live-instruments fall silent, while the tape part performs a "morphing": a transformation of the sound of the piano into that of a flute. Here the two extremely different instruments lose their sonic identity, fusing into the virtual sound of the electronics. A section of quietly flowing eighth notes in which the flute and piano - playing in different meters - are superimposed, is followed by the intense final section where motivic fragments appear in fortissimo and double-fortissimo. The piece arrives at its epilogue with a tape section in which the acoustically weaker wind instrument once again stands up to the piano and unexpectedly gains the upper hand.
© Max Nyffeler (tranlsation: Oliver Schneller)