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Work of the Week – Chaya Czernowin: Knights of the strange


On 20 November 2015, Ensemble PHACE will give the world premiere of Chaya Czernowin’s Knights of the strange at the Wien Modern festival. Guitarist Yaron Deutsch and accordionist Krassimir Sterev will join the ensemble for the performance, conducted by Simeon Pironkoff at the Konzerthaus in Vienna.

The title Knights of the strange comes from a book written by Czernowin’s son, Ko, when he was four. The book consists mainly of quotations from situations in everyday domestic life, and the work plays on these asking the performers to include spoken references to their own children or parents. Within the ensemble piece is a duo for electric guitar and accordion, which also exists as an autonomous work with the same title. Thus these two instruments somehow form a musical symbiosis with the other instruments of the ensemble.

Knights of the strange is a piece of music poetry. Where a few words highlight the speculative and poetic connections between dreams, reality and reflection. The duo is like an independent plant from another climate inside the jungle of the tutti version. It is a very close look at how impulse and reaction, when faced with some random element, can take quite a surprising turn into an unexpected territory. – Chaya Czernowin

The duo version of Knights of the strange was premiered in summer 2015 at a portrait concert at Gare du Nord, Basel. In March 2016, as part of the Green Umbrella Festival, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla will conduct the LA Phil New Music Group in the American premiere of the ensemble version at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles.