Symphony No. 2 - Symbiosis is a creative dispute between old vs new, nature vs technology, order vs chaos, creation vs destruction. It tells the complex story of humanity's relationship with nature and its impact on planet earth.
TERRAFORMING | (7-9/12)
Terraforming, which literally means earth-shaping, introduces the second half of the symphony and marks the third movement of the symphony. In terms of storytelling it describes how nature and technology start to coexist and complement each other. It’s the beginning of an extraordinary symbiosis.
Terraforming is written for a solo violin and full orchestra. It begins with a playful melody by a solo violin, accompanied by a harp, but eventually the whole orchestra joins in and a synth takes the part of a countermelody, echoing the violin. This symbolises technology mimicking nature. Their interaction intensifies towards the end of the piece. If you listen closely you can also hear the harp slowly morphing into an artificial synth, showing how parts of our natural environment bit by bit get replaced by technology. To appropriately create this smooth transformation in the storyline I decided to record the whole movement as one, instead of splitting it up like the previous movements. Therefore the whole composition is 10 minutes long.
I was happy to get the incredible violinist Barbara Hürlimann on board, who nailed the solo with remarkable precision and sensitivity. Especially the last minute of this movement is super tricky and requires a lot of skills to play.
PROJECTIONS | (6/12)
Projections marks the finalé of the second movement. It’s a turning point of the symphony, as the focus shifts from the past to the future.
As the composition unfolds visions of how nature, technology and humans could sustainably coexist are formed. There is a new spark of hope. These ‘projections’ of how the future could be are visualised with the growing tree in the last few bars of music.
Contrary to the first movement I refrained from using contemporary music samples and synthesisers in addition to the orchestra whilst composing this movement. It symbolises the reunification with our natural roots.
The theme from ‘memories’ is initially reprised, however shifts into a new direction.
In terms of orchestration the main melody is written for a solo violin, accompanied by a orchestra and harp. The cello takes the place of the countermelody. In the middle there’s a sequence for a solo viola. I had the pleasure to record with talented violinist Barbara Hürlimann, cellist Markus Meier and viola player Sabine Hüberli.
REFLECTION | (5/12)
Reflection is written for a solo violin, accompanied by a harp, strings and woodwinds, played as adagio. Visually we can see blurry patterns of a face and hands in the background and a hovering bird in front. The bird and the woman, which we know from the first movement, symbolically represent nature. This time however, the visuals are more surreal, reflective and distant. Almost as if one was in a dream. I composed the chord progression in a way that it’s ‘falling’ throughout the entire piece. I felt like that was going to reflect the downward spiral into one own’s subconsciousness, in an abstract way. The difficulty was composing a melody, which could give enough counterweight to maintain the balance.
MEMORIES | (4/12)
Like the title suggests, Memories is a remembrance of where we came from and a journey through that thought process. It opens the second movement and is written for a solo cello, solo violin and full orchestra. There are quite a few harmony and key changes throughout the piece, smoothing out the transitions between the 5 subparts. The ending is the same as the beginning, representing the never ending circle of memories.
GALVANIC REACTION | (3/12)
Galvanic Reaction is the third and final part of the first movement.Beginning with the full orchestra the new ‘technology’ theme is introduced. It’s a variation of the ‘nature’ theme from the first two parts. This symbolises how technology mimics nature. The battle between order vs. chaos continues and is portrayed by the storm. We’re now in the 21st century. Aggressive horns, an electric guitar and contemporary music samples are added to the orchestra to convey this mood. Nature on the other hand is more defensive, represented by a solo violin, a flute and cello. The contrast between the two sides is tense as they try to coexist. Finally all 3 established themes come together in an epic finale of the first movement. 'Technology' clearly dominates in the end, as the orchestra plays its theme in unison.
ACID PLASMA | (2/12)
Acid Plasma finally opens with the main theme and the whole orchestra joins in. It describes the rise of technology in the 20th century. In terms of orchestration it's built upon the same and similar musical themes as in Dystopian Paradise, however set in a new orchestral environment with electronic instruments and samples. As Nature (Violin) and Technology (Synth) try to coexist, the underlying rhythm and harmonies get more complex and melodies overlap, resulting in a epic battle of instrumentation. Visually this part is a continuation of Dystopian Paradise, but gets darker and shifts from water to a desert scenery, illustrating the beginning of human impact on global warming.
DYSTOPIAN PARADISE | (1/12)
Representing the old and natural setting, Dystopian Paradise marks the introduction of the first movement. The monotony in rhythm and chamber-like simplicity in instrumentation reflects the order and structure of a peaceful world, but also causes a feeling of suspense and restlessness.
Visually the woman, the manta ray and the bird stand for the evolution of humanity and nature. What first seems like freedom and a perfect symbiosis slowly changes as humans evolve. Our world might just turn upside down, changing everything…