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World Premiere of Chaya Czernowin's Habekhi

Sep. 01, 2019

World Premiere of Chaya Czernowin's <em>Habekhi</em>

On September 21, Ensemble Experimental, led by Hannes Reich and featuring contralto Noa Frenkel, presents the world premiere of Chaya Czernowin's Habekhi at the Friedenskirche in Freiburg, Germany. The work, which incorporates text fragments of poem 164 from The Answers by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, was commissioned by SWR Experimental Studio, and headlines the concert. Also on this program are works by Kurtág, Heusinger, Berio, Tenney and Cage. Of the piece, the composer notes:

"How do you start to cry? With the physical sensation of having a blocked throat and the slow muscular forces which push it up and cause us to feel a sense of release when the tears come out... This was the concept behind the origins of the composition.

The sentence from Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz’s poem which appears in the piece is: ‘My heart is undone and passing through your hands.’".

Additionally, soprano Juliet Fraser performs Czernowin's Adiantum Capillus-Veneris on September 21 at Musica Festival Strasbourg, France. Czernowin states:

"In this piece, voice and breath play an equal role, since the breath is used as a self-contained material in a contrapuntal relationship to the voice. It is not an expression in the conventional sense in which a singer places his personality at the service of the feelings or other expressions of an ego. Rather, it is a kind of sketch whose contours are contoured by voice and breath as by a fine brush. Although the drawing consists only of lines made up of water (breath) and color (voice), many lines create a landscape."

Finally, the BBC Scotish Symphony Orchestra presents the UK premiere of Once I blinked nothing was the same on September 26 at Glasgow City Hall, Scotland. The composer describes her work:

"This is the shortest piece I've ever written: It's about three minutes long. In this short time it goes through profound changes, especially in its dimensionality. Imagine your ear becoming a giant microphone and a mixture of sounds as if from within a body; then suddenly a large crowd of people, then again your own breath ... and so on: There are big changes in what you hear, how the listener's expectations are changing and forming new ones over and over again."

Listen to Chaya Czernowin's Knights of the strange (2014) here:
(Knights of the strange/Czenrowin/Ensemble Phace)

To learn more about Chaya Czernowin, visit

Chaya Czernowin
Habekhi (2018)
for low female foice, ensemble and electronics

Once I blinked nothing was the same (2015)
a large-scale miniature for orchestra

Adiantum Capillus-Veneris (2015)
an etude in fragility for voice and breath (ad lib. amplified)