Zeitlupen (A Little Collage on Football) for baritone and piano (2003)

for singer/actor (baritone) and piano (with additional instruments) (2003)

Commissioned by Moritz Eggert and the Bavarian Academy of the Fine Arts

Duration: ca. 10′

Publisher: Schott Music

WP: München, Oct 16, 2003 (Thomas Bauer, Baritone/Moritz Eggert, Piano)

Further performances:
June 30, 2006, Regensburg
Nov 30, 2009, Kassel


Football (resp. soccer) has been fascinating for many contemporary composers – maybe because of the unpredictable dramaturgy within a match, the complexity of different combinations, contrasts or complements between different strategies, the “soloist-like” position of extraordinary players – in short, there are numerous connections to musical ideas.

Zeitlupen (Slow-motion replays) reflects football on different layers. The cycle consists of three interlocking parts: four poems from Gottfried Blumenstein’s 11 Haikus vom Fußballfeld form the musical core, to which three pantomime-actions with piano accompaniment, showing characteristic situations, are added. (This is based on a kind of a slow-motion-soccer that I used to play with my brother in our room, when the weather not allowed to go outside for a match on the playground nearby. The similarity towards far-eastern meditational techniques of these pantomimes also forms a connection to the haiku form of the poems.) The piece is completed by two recitations recalling famous teams and the best and (maybe) worst from german football history: the world champions from 1954 and the team of the unbearable put-up game against Austria during the world championship of 1982. This part also refers to a well-known poem by Peter Handke, Die Aufstellung des 1. FC Nürnberg vom 27. 1. 1968.

Behind that, playing with numbers has been important for the structure. The form of the haiku (5-7-5 syllables), a symmetric all-interval-series and many other elements are taken from the number of 12 (eleven players and their coach). Gesture and sound-colours of the piano part are economical but precise; towards the ending percussive sounds dominate it. Directly illustrative moments – like the rhythm of cheers call in Nr. IV – are rather exceptional.

The altogether form follows the labyrinthical structure of Pierre Boulez’ Le marteau sans maître, written around the famous year of 1954…

1. Pantomime I (Freistoßtor)
2. Haiku I
3. Pantomime II (Faustabwehr)
4. Haiku II
5. Rezitation I (Bern 1954)
6. Haiku III
7. Pantomime III (Dribbling)
8. Haiku IV
9. Rezitation II (Gijón 1982)