Moritz Eggert | Master & Servant | 2022/2023 | 30´
Slagwerkconcerto voor Solo slagwerk en groot ensemble
Classical music is an art form in which the concept of hierarchy is deeply ingrained. From the free-form musical ensembles of the Renaissance to the civil servant-like structure of contemporary orchestras, music has come a long way of establishing a structure of ‘masters’ (maestros or musical directors) and ‘servants’ (the tutti musicians). Even though in the best moments these hierarchies are transcended by the mutual will to create an extraordinary musical experience, the many #metoo-and abuse of power scandals of the classical music world shows that these structures also create a lot of problems.
The traditional solo ‘concerto’ is an interesting hybrid of this concept. We know that originally these concertos were conducted by the soloists themselves, but in the modern performance practice there are in effect often two masters, one who ‘dominates’ the soloist (the conductor) and the soloist who ‘dominates’ the ensemble. ‘Who is winning?’ is a question many listeners ask themselves sometimes, and musical history is full of droll anecdotes of soloists competing with the conductors in one way or another.
It has long interested me as a composer to explore this interesting dichotomy playfully. Percussion like no other instrument has an ability to give precise “commands”. But will the ensemble react in a way the soloist expects? Or in a completely different manner? My piece, therefore, has two parts – one exploring the ‘master’ side of the soloist, but another one making him the ‘servant’ as well.
Of course, none of these roles must be set in stone, and for me, they only exist in a virtual “wild space” of music creation, in the real world they would have to be negotiated again and again in a hopefully free world.
- Moritz Eggert, 21.2.2022