by Torsten Rasch
Torsten Rasch was born in Dresden. He initially studied composition in the city of his birth, then went on to study composition for screen and chamber music in Japan. He has written orchestra pieces for the Dresdner Sinfoniker, the BBC Symphonic Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Dresden Philharmonic and the Ensemble Resonanz, for example. He has also been commissioned to write operas for such renowned opera houses as the London, Cologne, Berne and Dresden operas.
Together with the flautist Giorgio Consolati and the cellist Isang Enders, Torsten Rasch will be presenting his work Ritual in Neuhardenberg, which is almost ten minutes long.
'The year 2020 was the year I got the chance to explore Rome at last – after two years of working on my opera Die andere Frau – as well as the year that I intended to finally say goodbye to the soundscapes of opera, which sometimes transported me to an imagined Sumerian-Akkadian world of texts written in cuneiform and sounds I had never experimented with before. Then the pandemic came, and lockdown. However, not all was lost: the Villa Massimo and its residents, and the deserted Rome were a blessing during this time. Nevertheless, I did not manage to leave the world of the people of Ur. As an 'ersatz' for the cancelled final presentation, I produced a recording of excerpts from the opera with the support of the Villa Massimo and Sussan Deyhim, the opera's 'eyewitness'. It therefore seemed only logical to also explore this soundscape further for the presentation at Neuhardenberg in order to find closure at last. Nobody really knows what the music that was found written in cuneiform on various stelae actually sounded like. What was of vital interest to me was to connect our rudimentary knowledge about the music of that time with a new, imaginary soundscape. Besides the vocals, which will not feature in Ritual, the string and wind instrument are instruments that were already used to make music in Ur 3,000 years ago. The 'environment' they are being played in maps out an imaginary world.' (Torsten Rasch)