New composition: echo yes no (2019) for two harps and live electronics

The harp duo Aecstaly – Alice Belugou and Estelle Costanzo – together with Andreas Eduardo Frank (live electronic) premiere Mike Svoboda’s echo yes no at the ZeitRäume Festival on the September 21st. Designed to follow FREUDE (Joy), a 40 minute duo from Karlheinz Stockhausen in which die two performers sing and recite texts in latin, Svoboda referenced the use of the voice, but no other music content of Stockhausen’s work. Not only because of the extrem detuning of the harps at the end of Svoboda’s work did it prove necessary, it was also dramaturgically fitting for this work follow the Stockhausen. Due to the general emotional atmosphere of echo yes no is such, that only post-joy (FREUDE) could Svoboda’s composition be heard in the program as such. A recording of this premiere performance can be heard here.

Generally speaking, I tend to emphasize the positive in life with my music, and thus lightness and humor are not foreign to me. However, for no apparent reason, echo yes no (2019) for two harps and live electronics, as with my Piangerò la sorte mia (2018) for mezzo soprano and ensemble, originates from a darker place—"Worry, don’t be happy". echo yes no was commissioned by the harp duo Aecstasy—Alice Belugou and Estelle Costanzo—with the intention of performing it before or after Karlheinz Stockhausen's JOY (FREUDE) for two harps. Thus, my work is complementary to JOY but musically makes no reference to it except through the instrumentation. There is therefore no joyous anticipation, no joyful citation, and no tears of joy. Instead, echo yes no an inner struggle with a difficult, momentous decision, supported by a touch of hope and confidence in redemption from inner turmoil.
- Mike Svoboda, May 2019


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