Marina Khorhova : existential sounds on the border of life

Marina Khorhova

The composer Marina Khorkova lives and works in Moscow/Russia and Berlin/Germany. From 2000 to 2005 she studied composition at the Moscow Conservatory. In 2008 she received a grant by Paul Sacher Stiftung in Basel/Switzerland followed by grants of the DAAD and the Kunststiftung Baden-Württemberg, which allowed her to follow up on her studies of composition by Prof. Caspar Johannes Walter at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Stuttgart, Germany. She was also granted residency fellowships by Villa Aurora Los Angeles, CA/USA and Künstlerhof Schreyhan, Wustrow/Germany.

In 2011 she was granted the Ernst-Krenek-Preis der Stadt Wien at impuls festival in Graz/Austria that was joined to a residency as composer-in-residence in Austria. Her work ALEPH premiered performed by Ensemble Klangforum in the context of the festival steirischer herbst 2012 in Graz. 2013 she was awarded the Kompositionspreis of Staubach Honoria and a grant by the Internationalen Ferienkurse Darmstadt in 2014 on which her work klangNarbe was performed by Enseble Accanto for the first time. Her newest workSTREICHQUARTETT will premiere at MicroFest performed by Lyris Quartet in Los Angeles and in the course of the festival Bludenzertage zeitgemäßer Musik, Austria performed by Ensemble soundinitiative in 2015.

In the course of various festivals Marina Khorkova participated in master classes of Brian Ferneyhough, Georges Aperghis, Mark Andre, Beat Furrer, Brice Pauset, Toshio Hosokawa, Rebecca Saunders, Georg Friedrich Haas, Peter Ablinger, Martijn Padding, Roland Moser and Frédéric Durieux.

My composition VORderGRENZE (2010) for clarinet, cello and prepared piano deals with the edges of life: existential sounds on the border of life and death represented by different breath sounds, reinforced with partials and translated into the instrumental parts. The fight to the last breath is the essential message of the piece, which is expressed by some extreme sound gestures. Various processes and characteristics of inhalation and exhalation were tried in quasi sound-photographs. Suffocating breath sounds, for example, are chaotic and noisy. Last breaths have a dark timbre with delicate nuances (such as wheezing) during inhalation and exhalation. The instrumentalists were also directed to blow on megaphones and this natural and quiet breathing was compared and linked, as it were, with the inhalation and exhalation of the instrumental sounds.

A good illustrative example of my techniques would be the string quartet I have been working on. This includes natural overtones on scordatura strings, special pressed tones placed on the overtone points and sounds and noises on the open strings. The main idea is to build fine clusters from the overtone spectrum (from 1 to 13, further if possible), which are made possible through the use of scordatura. The three sound-worlds are extremely distant from each other. The shape of the piece includes 6 phases in which, through modifications and transformations, the three sound-aspects will develop into new forms. For example: overtones become intense, with properties of more brutal sounds and vice versa. In the quartet I also have worked at finding microtonal relationships of overtones within clusters, which creates very fine frequencies.

An example of a similar piece would be my INSTALLATIONEN (2011) for organ, where I worked with graphic notation. I experimented with the instrument almost every day for three months, finding accurate ways of notating special registrations. The piece is about creating new sounds through the use of several intersecting spectra – harmonious or inharmonious, very unstable and noise-like.


Marina Khorhova on Soundcloud

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