Discantus I is the spiritual life of a cat, and cats aren’t lyricists”, Einar Englund once wrote. Wheather or not cats ore lyricists is something for the cat people to decide, but the observation on the cat-like nature of Discantus is certainly opt. More so, in fact, since there ore twin cats, in two states of activeness.
Firstly: in the excited mimicry and movement of the temperamental solo instrumentalist, devoid of leaps and bounds merely because this is a metaphorical, not a material world — the most concrete moment comes when the cat chases its tail in circles the pauses are rare and short.
Secondly: there it is, stretched on a soft rug daydreaming about sleep — and judging from the twitching of eyelids and whiskers, having fallen in to a cat nap, it probably dreams of hunting. As the piece proceeds the states do not become intermingled but take the stage in turn; but the moments of activity get shorter and shorter and the dreaming state takes over.
I did not actually have a cat while writing the piece (in 1965), and Discantus was composed for Severino Gazzelloni and his Finnish followers.
© Paavo Heininen
(from Ondine ODE 742-2) Instrumentation
Works for Solo Instrument Opus no.
op. 14 Premiere
Severino Gazzelloni, Darmstadt, 24 August 1966 Commisioned by / dedications
Dedicated to Severino Gazzelloni
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