Violinist and director Hugo Ticciati developed his eclectic programming style at his O/MODƏRNT Festival, which takes place each June in Ulriksdals Palace Theatre in Stockholm, his adopted home. His interest in exploring the relationships between historical work and modern culture found a natural focus in Time Unwrapped.
What’s your personal tempo?
In Ligeti’s Poème symphonique, performed during this series (23 Sep), 100 metronomes wind down at different speeds. I think our lives are often like that, all these elements clicking at different speeds. But there are moments when everything synchronises; for me, performing is that moment.
What do you want the audience to experience?
Time is a fundamental aspect of all our lives but it’s something we take for granted. That’s why the series is so important – time is the leitmotif of our lives, but our overriding feeling is one of stress, that time is running out. The hardest thing for us to do is to actually enter into time and experience its mystery. So I’d like people to experience time in a new way, to become aware of different timescales.
How does music enable us to experience that deeper sense of time?
Music is an art form which only exists in time. And it has a visceral connection to our own physical clocks, our pulse, our heartbeat, our breathing. But it can also twist, stretch, fracture and distil our sense of time; it can make time a reality for us.
How do you experience that as a performer?
When I play, a dual concept of time opens up: the physical accelerated buzz of awareness and the inner peace, the ‘now’ of the music. The goal is to bring these together, and disappear into the music. When I am improvising I give myself totally to that moment, letting the tones lead me forwards.
Tell us about Time Stands Still…
This programme aims to lift listeners into a zone beyond time, to float in a pure duration. It’s really an extended meditation. The wonderful Zen Japanese artist Miyoko Shida will create a balance act with a feather and a pile of sticks while we play Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel. This work is constructed in such a way that it could theoretically go on forever. Then pianist Víkingur Ólafsson will play Beethoven’s Op. 111 Sonata, in whose last movement the barlines begin to disappear.
‘Time is the leitmotif of our lives, but our overriding stress is that we’re running out of it’
In September you’ll be joined by your orchestra O/Modernt for Looping Time…
Repetition is so much part of our lives, and the musical embodiment of that can be found in Minimalist music. In this programme we have three composers, Glass, Tüür and Adams, who have all created trance-like effects, where a very small change can acquire monumental significance. Everything can appear to be routine, but there’s the tree you never noticed before, the bird call you never heard, a sudden, new idea – those tiny, but beautiful, shifts amidst continuity.
Tell us about Alternate Time Flows…
The idea for this evening was that each piece would encapsulate a different intensity of time: Janáček’s Kreutzer Sonata Quartet is a vast psychological drama condensed into 15 minutes. Evelyn’s own piece is static and could go on forever, while Albert Schnelzer’s Apollonian Dances is very physical, very movement-oriented.
And your finale?
Well Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time had to be there; it lifts us up into another dimension. The concept for my final sequence was a death, Schubert’s Death and the Maiden, mourning through Mozart’s Requiem and ending with the ‘ascension’ in the Quartet for the End of Time.
Portrait Hugo Ticciati & Friends
Alternate Time Flows Dame Evelyn Glennie & O/Modernt Quartet
Time Stands Still Hugo Ticciati, Víkingur Ólafsson & Miyoko Shida Rigolo
Hugo Ticciati & O/Modernt Chamber Orchestra Looping Time
Mozart’s Requiem Hugo Ticciati, O/Modernt, Signum Quartet, VOCES8 & soloists
Quartet for the End of Time Hugo Ticciati & Friends