The cellist and composer Tomasz Skweres will play «Jeux de lumière» for violoncello on October 16 and 28
There are two concerts coming up in October which I am particularly looking forward to: It’s a great honour for a composer when a truly excellent fellow composer such as Tomasz Skweres has decided to stage one of your solo pieces. Mr. Skweres is an award winning composer whose music is capable of capturing and affecting huge audiences while being very progressive and challenging in its compositional syntax at the same time. I do consider him one of the very best living composers of my generation.
Many great composers have been extremely good musicians as well. Think of Grieg, Brahms or Messiaen. I daresay that Tomasz Skweres contributes to this tradition, being the solo cellist of the Theter Regensburg’s orchestra and having played lots of solo recitals didicated to contemporary music.
On October 16, Tomasz Skweres will play my work Jeux de lumière at the Theater Regensburg in Germany. That seems like an ideal place for this piece which requires a dark stage and a strong light in order to project the player’s silhouette onto a wall during its performance. I’m really looking forward to listening to and watching this performance in Regensburg alongside works by Kérome Naulais, Rainer Stegmann and others.
On October 28, Tomasz Skweres will give a recital with music by Mateusz Ryczek, Manuela Kerer, Daniel Oliver Moser, Wolfgang Liebhart, Adam Porębski, Christoph Renhart and Tomasz Skweres at Vienna’s Alte Schmiede. The admission to this concert will be free—don’t miss the chance to visit the event. The Alte Schmiede offers a live stream too (please check their website) in case you’d like to join from outside Vienna.
Jeux de lumière was composed in 2015, thus being quite an old work of mine already. I wrote the piece for a recital organized by the ÖGZM. Having been completely discontent with the piece after its premiere, I thoroughly revised it in 2017 and … abandoned it. So it fell asleep somehow and I thought it will just add to the many skeletons in my cupboard (unplayed pieces). Recently it mysteriously awoke from its hibernation after winning an international call for scores by a Japanese cellist in 2021. Thanks to the fabulous interpretation of Hugo Paiva in Leipzig in the past December, I have placed new confidence in this piece. Originally I thought some of the virtuous textures simply would not work out as expected, but thankfully Hugo’s stunning performance proved me wrong. Writing a solo piece that requires virtuosity to a great extent for an instrument one does not play very well or one does not play at all (such as me and the cello) is always a balancing act. It’s very easy to write something completely unplayable, however it is not a good strategy to avoid making mistakes or to compose rather cautiously, too. Putting one’s head above the parapet is somehow necessary when a composer does not intend to repeat him/herself. I strongly believe that composing has got a lot to do with honesty. Not hiding behind something that we know would work out well, but trying to find new and personal ways and never stop studying the many possibilities any instrument offers. We have to risk unplayable pieces, there is no other way, I’m sure. In short, Jeux de lumière turned out to be a risky piece, both for the performer and its composer, and today I have made my peace with it.