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Speed (2017)

SPEED – Sonic stream and concentration

Semi-staged work for two duos and objects


Commission: Konstnärsnamnden Sweden

Premiere: Anna Melander/flute, Frederik Munk Larsen/guitar, Karolina Öhman/cello, Erika Öhman/percussion

May 28th 2017,  Literaturhaus, COPENHAGEN

Program note:

A finger lands on a drumhead, and bounces back into the air even before there is a sound.

When Concorde, British-French turbojet supersonic aircraft operated until 2003, travelled faster than the speed of sound, the air pressure waves were forcefully compressed together and bounced back with enormous amounts of sound energy like an explosion called sonic boom.

People experiencing life-threatning event, such as car accident, often report that they perceived time slowing down. Suddenly every detail of the very moment becomes crystal clear and stretched out as if watching a slow motion film.

The focused moment, the very moment of the first cell of a fingernail falling onto the granular surface of guitar string, gives a true sense of sonic concentration. 

The gravity of the earth sometimes attracts many things to fall from the sky such as common carps covering area of 800 square meter, 800 sardines, zombie like eels, apples covering an entire garden, 4.5 kg of soy beans, to name a few.

Project SPEED is a semi-staged work consisting of several instrumental chamber music compositions and object interludes created by composer Rei Munakata based on different types of speed and time perception.

Project SPEED is supported by Swedish Konstnärsnamnden Projektbidrag.

Compositional idea:

(The following text should NOT be presented to the audience in any form)

I visited Kiruna in February 2013, and was particularly inspired by the extreme slowness of life in Norrland. I see a person walking towards me on the same street. He walks and walks for a very long time to surpass me and takes very long time to disappear – approximately 30 minutes in total. Absolutely nothing is happening otherwise. Even the faint sunlight seems to take longer time to reach my skin. The sense of slowness and calmness together with focused and minimalistic life event under the faint light and coldness created a sense of strong concentration and tension I have never felt in my life. There is a strong sense of energy hiding behind the calmness as if it is so secretive that you just simply have to find out. Perhaps from the feeling of loneliness? Or the intense silence throughout the city? Why is the slowness gave me such a strong impact? I became interested in how different types of speed can influence one’s expression and musical output. 

SPEED consists of the following musical elements (Click for more details for each piece):

Yururi (2017) for flute and guitar

Satto (2017) for cello and percussion

Object Interludes consisting of metal pot, stones, feathers, silk paper, soap bubble, koinobori (fish shaped wind kite traditionally flown in Japan to celebrate Children's Day May 5th).

Yururi represents slowness and slowing down. Satto represents fastness and speeding up. These two pieces interact each other based on their speed characteristics throughout the work.

The piece is also semi-staged, and the performers are instructed to perform, walk, move, talk, and drop objects to the floor according to different levels and directions of speed. 

Speed: Bio
Speed stage disposition for Literaturhaus.jpg
Yururi ex.jpeg
Satto ex.jpeg
Speed: Photo Gallery
Speed: Video
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