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2017/10/09

Work of the Week – Peter Eötvös: Multiversum

When Yuri Gagarin became the first human to journey into space in 1961, he sparked a generation’s interest in the mysteries of the universe. This included a young Peter Eötvös, whose latest work, Multiversum for concert organ, Hammond organ, and orchestra, sets out to explore this theme. The composer himself will conduct the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and soloists Iveta Apkalna and László Fassang in the world premiere on 10 October 2017 in the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg.

Peter Eötvös: Multiversum – creating a universe out of sound

Eötvös was inspired to compose a piece that would envelope the listener in the same way the universe envelopes the earth.  A three-dimensional sound is created by the staging: the strings are placed to the left of the audience and the woodwinds to the right, while the brass and percussion are spread over the stage alongside the Hammond organ.  A carefully placed Leslie rotary speaker creates a Doppler effect that obscures the Hammond organ’s location, allowing it to seemingly float above the whole audience. Even immovable instruments are presented in a different light – the Klais organ, which is built into the wall of the Elbphilharmonie behind a section of the audience, is played at a keyboard at the front of the hall. The overall effect is a visual break from traditional orchestral staging and an immersive sound experience for each audience member.

I try to describe the world with sounds, just like writers do it with words, painters with a brush, and directors with a camera. We often describe the same thing; only the medium is different. – Peter Eötvös

Eötvös will conduct Multiversum again on 11 October at the Philharmonie Köln, 12 October at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brüssel, 14 October at the Müpa Budapest and 19 and 20 October at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam.