Ensemble Musikfabrik

Ensemble Musikfabrik

Helen Bledsoe,flute / Peter Veale,oboe / Fie Schouten,(bass-)clarinet / Joshua Hyde,tenorsax / James Aylward,(contra-)bassoon / Christine Chapman, horn / Marco Blaauw, trumpet / Bruce Collings, trombone / Melvyn Poore, tuba / Ulrich Löffler, Minimoog, keyboard / Benjamin Kobler, piano / Ghenadie Rotari, accordion / Joao Pacheco, percussion / Rie Watanabe, No-input mixer / Ramon Gardella, percussion / Yaron Deutsch, e-guitar / Hannah Weirich, turntables, violin / Sara Cubarsi, violin / Lola Rubio, violin / Alfonso Noriega, viola / Dirk Wietheger, violoncello / Florentin Ginot , double bass / Moritz Baerens, double bass / Pierre Dekker, double bass

Ever since its formation in 1990, Ensemble Musikfabrik has had the reputation of being one of the leading ensembles for contemporary music. Following the literal meaning of its name, Ensemble Musikfabrik is particularly dedicated to artistic innovation. New, unknown, and often personally commissioned works in unusual media are typical of their productions. The results of their extensive work, usually taking place in close collaboration with the composers, are presented by the Cologne-based international soloist ensemble in up to 80 concerts a year in both Germany and abroad, at Festivals, in their own series »Musikfabrik in WDR« and in regular radio recordings and CD productions.
Ensemble Musikfabrik is supported by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Clement Power

Clement Power

Clement Power (*1980) studied at Cambridge University and the Royal College of Music, then held assistant conductorships with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Ensemble Intercontemporain. He frequently works with leading new-music ensembles including Klangforum Wien, Musikfabrik and Contrechamps. He has recently conducted the Philharmonia, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, NHK Symphony Orchestra, RSO Stuttgart, Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Avanti! Chamber Orchestra, Ictus Ensemble, Collegium Novum Zürich, and the Munich Chamber Orchestra. He has been the guest of festivals including Lucerne Festival, Salzburg Biennale, Darmstadt, Wien Modern, Acht Brücken, Aldeburgh, IRCAM Agora, amongst many others. Power has given over two hundred world premieres, including works by Georg Friedrich Haas, Péter Eötvös, Benedict Mason, and new commissions for the instruments of Harry Partch. Opera premieres include Hèctor ParraHypermusic Prologue (EIC / Liceu), Wolfgang Mitterer Marta (Opéra de Lille), and Liza Lim Tree of Codes (Musikfabrik / Cologne Opera).

Plenty for two. An idiosyncratic alliance

Plenty for two. An idiosyncratic alliance

Plenitude, gorgeous plentifulness, generosity.
Throughout the more exhaustive corpus of the ensemble, two instruments radiate a spectacular identitarian latitude. The magnanimity of formants, color, and spectrum, speak plenty about such musical and existential »largesse.« Historically they came a long way, yes, to be able to deploy such an arsenal of poetry and entrancement. But here, they are neither soloists nor »concertanti«; they are nautic propellers, in force and symbols. They are both screed and content of their abodes. The endless resources of those two enable larger discourses about introspection, speculation, jubilation, and transcendence. The joy of nurturing them, within their idiosyncratic alliance, comes from a simple realization that idioms are not cages, just departures and that what is possible still lays ahead.
Oscar Bianchi

Oscar Bianchi

Oscar Bianchi owes his first music excitements and endeavors to performing with music bands of ample stylistic latitudes during his teenage years. Having then engaged in a decade + of intense and turbulent academic training (Milan Conservatory, IRCAM, Columbia University) and resided in several countries, his vision and intellectual sensibility got incessantly challenged. His outputs have ranged from small to large forms, staged and concert music, instrumental and vocal. A possible common denominator throughout them, an obsession for »otherness« and »inwardness« and a fair disturbance with own « déjà-vu.»

Throughout his latest two concertos, « 6 db » for six double basses (2021), and « Étoile » for electric guitar (2020), along with a renewed pact within the orchestra, Oscar Bianchi sought a new form of instrumental dignity. Awards include first prices at Gaudeamus, UNESCO (Rostrum), Music Theatre NOW, the german critics’ award, and residencies in Berlin (DAAD), Warsaw (U-jazdowski), Venice (Centro Tedesco Studi Veneziani), Florida (ACA). Very engaged academically, Oscar Bianchi is a regular at masterclasses in the US, Europe, and Russia. Between Berlin and Switzerland, he’s a proud father of a small daughter and the founder and director of the International Young Composers Academy in Ticino.

Tolerance Stacks II

Tolerance Stacks II

»Tolerance Stacks« are calculations that determine the amount of deviation that mechanical parts can tolerate before the machine fails.

In TOLERANCE STACKS II, the »machine« is the piece. A soloist quintet with analog electroacoustic instruments enters into dialogue with the large ensemble, pushing all parameters-harmony, sound quality, tempo, rhythm, the role of soloists and ensemble, and the perception of transitional states-to the limits of their tolerance. The singer sings texts by two contrasting personalities, the inventor Thomas Edison and the inventor and poet Charles Cros.

In TOLERANCE STACKS II, Annesley Black explored the tension between man and machine and the enormous potential of transferring characteristic properties of electroacoustic instruments to »classical« instruments.

Sounds on the verge of breaking unite to create unique moments that express an unsentimental celebration of what is passing and cannot be reconstructed….an act of resistance to reducing unpredictable sensory experiences to preconceived parametric abstractions.
Annesley Black

Annesley Black

Annesley Black (*1979 in Ottawa, CA) is a Canadian composer living in Frankfurt, Germany. Her list of works spans a wide variety of genres, concert formats and mediafrom solo works, chamber music, ensemble and orchestral works to electro-acoustic compositions, live-electronics, mixed-media installations and experimental improvisation. She has worked with numerous renowned artists from a wide range of artistic disciplines and explores an unusual breadth of innovative themes and concepts. With their complex compositional structures, her compositions exhibit an expressive and independent musical language.


Theaterhaus, T1
Bruce Collins trombone Florentin Ginot double bass Juliet Fraser soprano Ulrich Löffler minimoog Joao Pacheco drumset Hannah Weirich turntables Rie Watanabe no-input mixer Ensemble Musikfabrik Clement Power conductor

Oscar Bianchi: Plenty for two. An idiosyncratic alliance

for trombone, double bass and ensemble (2021/22) ᵁᴬ

Annesley Black: Tolerance Stacks II

for five soloists and ensemble (2021/22) ᵁᴬ

»Tolerance stacks« are used in mechanical engineering to calculate which deviations from the standard behavior of mechanical parts can be tolerated before a machine fails. In TOLERANCE STACKS II, the »machine« is the piece. Annesley Black explores the tension between man and machine and the enormous potential of transferring properties of electroacoustic instruments to »classical« instruments. A soloist quintet of analog electroacoustic instruments enters into dialogue with the large ensemble, pushing all parametersharmony, sound quality, tempo, rhythm, the role of soloists and ensemble, and the perception of transitional statesto the limits of their tolerance. Sounds on the verge of breaking unite to create unique moments: an unsentimental celebration of what is passing and cannot be reconstructed.


Oscar Bianchi previously opens five plentiful concert days at the Theaterhaus with »gorgeous plentifulness and generosity«, referring to the generosity of formants, colors and the spectrum of his two solo instruments: for the composer, an »arsenal of poetry and entrancement«.


Sendung SWR2 JetztMusik
24. Februar 2022 / 21:0522:00 Uhr

»Plenty for two« von Oscar Bianchi ist ein Kompositionsauftrag von Ensemble Musikfabrik
mit Unterstützung von pro helvetia


»Tolerance Stacks II« von Annesley Black ist ein Kompositionsauftrag von Musik der Jahrhunderte/Festival ECLAT, finanziert durch die Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung

3 Opening

Annesley Blacks TOLERANCE STACKS IIDas Textbuch

Annesley Black: Tolerance Stacks II

The main sources of the text are Thomas A. Edison, American inventor (1847-1931)
and Charles Cros, French poet, inventor (1842-1888).

Written in order of appearance.


IBeginnings -Scott/ Cros

Record material:

re-synthesisis of phonautographic recordings made by Edouard-Léon Scott de Martinville (1817-1879). Text- Racine’s Phèdre. Recorded 1853 or 1854. Resynthesized in 2008 by Patrick Feaster, the First Sounds Website, Lawrence Berkely National Laboratory.


Text: (soprano)

There is an easier way to do this.


Thomas Edison, while trying to achieve a clearer representation of the spectrum of orchestral instruments in his recordings made in 1923.[1]

Text: (soprano)

Très jeune,

j’eus une belle fortune

et le goût de la science.. .

J’ai pensé . . .

que l’homme n’est qu’un sténographe des faits brutaux,

qu’un secretaire de la nature palpable;

que la vérité conçue . .

dans un volume immense et confus,

n’est abordable partiellement qu’aux gratteurs,




et emmagasineurs de faits réels,


indéniables ; en un mot, qui’l faut être fourmi,

qui’il faut être ciron,


vibrion, qui’il faut n’être rien !

. . .

Observer, observer . . .

(surtout ne jamais penser, rêver, imaginer ; voilà les splendeurs de la méthode actuelle.)


Translation (A.Black)


Very young,

I had a beautiful fortune

and a taste for science. . .

I thought. . .

that the man is only a stenographer of brutal facts,

a secretary of palpable nature;

that the truth conceived. . .

in an immense and confused volume,

is accessible only partially to the scrappers,




and storekeepers of real,


undeniable facts; In a word, you have to be an ant,

you have to be a mite,

a rotifer,

a vibrio,

you have to be nothing !

. . .

To observe, observe . . .

– Charles Cros, »La Science de L’amour«, from Le Collier de griffes, 1908


Part I& II

Record Playback:

Thomas Edison- Speech »Electricity and Progress« at the second annual Electrical Show, Madison Square Gardens, New York, Oct. 3, 1908

Ladies and gentlemen,


Those of us who began our love labors at the operator’s key 50 years ago have been permitted to see and assist in the whole modern industrial development of electricity. Since the remarkable experiments of Morse in 1844 and the unsuccessful efforts of Field in 1858 that have come with incredible rapidityone electrical arc after another. So that in practically every respect civilization has been revolutionized.


It is still too early to stand outside these events and pronounce final judgement on their lasting value.

But we may surely entertain the belief that the last half of the 19th century was a distinct and distinct in its electrical inventions and the results of the first half was in relation to steam.


The lessons of the Jubilee of the Atlantic Cable of 1858 is one of encouragement to all who would act to the resources of our race and extend our control over the forces of Nature. Never was failure more complete, never was higher courage shown, never was triumph more brilliant than that which set 1866 has kept the old world moored alongside the new by cables of steel and copper, the family ties of the civilized world.


When I look around at the resources of the electrical field today I feel that I would be glad to begin again my work as an electrician and inventor and we veterans get only older than our successors, the younger followers of Franklin and of Tolbin to realize the measure of their opportunities and to rise to the heights of their responsibilities in this day of electricity.


Part III, VII, IXI was always afraid of things that worked the first time

Text: (soprano)

I was always afraid of things that worked the first time


Thomas A. Edison, 1877,  upon hearing his voice play back to him from his first tin foil phonograph.[2]

Part IV- Arthur Sullivan

Record Playback:

Sir Arthur Sullivan speech, Little Menlo, 1888, speech recorded on a phonograph cylinder for Thomas Edison at a demonstration of Edison’s phonograoph in London on Oct. 5, 1888; cited from Michael Chanan Repeated Takes: A Short History of Recording and its Effects on Music (London: Verso, 1995) p. 26. See also »Historic Sullivan Recordings« at the Gilbert and Sullivan Archive; and Very Early Recorded Sound at the National Historical Park website. The recording was issued on CD by the British Library (Voices of History 2: NSACD 19-20, 2005)

Myself, I can only say that I am astonished and somewhat terrified at the result of this evenings experiments.

Astonished at the wonderful power you have developed, and terrified at the thought that so much hideous and bad music may be put on record forever! . . ..

But all the same I think it is the most wonderful thing that I have ever experienced, and I congratulate you with all my heart on this wonderful discovery.


Part V/ VIYoung Man Fancy/ Rhythm of big generators

Record Playback:

audio samples from the short film »Young Man’s Fancy«1952, Edison Electric Institute Production.

Man: some of these large generators have the rhythm of music. Woman: Do you like music? Man: The music of machinery. Woman: sigh”

(with Beethoven’s Eroica in background) ” Man: The rhythm of big generators”


Digital playback/ Record Playback:

a field recording (A. Black, 2008) from a tour through the Hoover Dam (Nevada/Arizona).

Part VI- Record Playback:

»Man: but I do like music!  Woman: Swell! The records are right in the cabinet! «  »Man: oh… the creation of power, the distribution of power and the design of new machines!«

(»Young Man’s Fancy«1952).


Part VIII- Hurry up the Machine. I HAVE STRUCK A BIG BONANAZA!


Thomas Edison: »Hurry up the machine. I HAVE STRUCK A BIG BONANZA« Telegraph sent by Edison to William Walllace, (who was developing an electrical power generator developer for the distribution power) on Sept. 13, 1878, upon developing a working model of the incandescent lightbulb.

Part IX- Glowworm

Text: (soprano)

»Glow wormnot popular-

striving for perfect steadiness, beautiful eyes«[3]


I seize the palpitating air. I hoard

Music and speech. All lips that breathe are mine.[4]


The majestical myth which Physicists seek[5]

The quick and the dead converse, as I reply.[6]


I speak , and the inviolable word

Authenticates its origin and sign . . [7]

I celebrate myself, and sing myself,

And what I assume you shall assume .. [8]


»Glow wormnot popular-

striving for perfect steadiness, beautiful eyes«


My line of sorrow lies in the realm of technical science-[9]

The majestical myth which Physicists seek.


In me are souls embalmed. I am an ear

Flawless as truth , and truth’s own tongue am I.

I am a resurrection; men may hear

The quick and the dead converse, as I reply.


»Glow wormnot popular- striving for perfect steadiness, beautiful eyes«


PART XIVTestament (Charles Cros)


Text: (morse-oscillator key, percussion)

A patient waiter is no loser.

(material for the morse oscillator key part and for the rhythms of the piece). Samuel Morse & Alfred Vailthe first text sent by morse code on a public telegraph, January 1838.

Text: (soprano)


Si mon âme claire s’éteint
Comme une lampe sans pétrole,
Si mon esprit, en haut, déteint
Comme une guenille folle,

Si je moisis, diamantin,
Entier, sans tache, sans vérole,
Si le bégaiement bête atteint
Ma persuasive parole,
. . .
(Ne craignez rien, je ne maudis
Personne. Car un paradis
Matinal, s’ouvre et me fait taire.)


–            Charles Cros,  Testament from :Le collier de griffes. 1908

[1]     Quoted in Stankley, »Edison 125-foot Horn« Theodore Edison Oral History, 2, 26.
[2]     Quoted in: Edison, His Life and Inventions. Frank Lewis Dyer and Thomas Commerford Martin, New York, 1910, p. 207.
[3]     T. A. Edison, in a letter to the author George Parsons Lathrop in 1890- a character for a planned science fiction book (collaboration between Lathrop and Edison). Quoted in:  Edison,   Edmund Morris, Random House, New York, 2019, p. 288.
[4]     Rev. Horatio N. Powers- first poem spoken into an Edison cylinder: »The Phonograph’s Salutation«, 1877. Transcript in George Gouraud Biographical Collection, TENHP. Quoted in Edison,   Edmund Morris, Random House, New York, 2019. p. 545.
[5]     Consonant-laden phrase used in 1877 to test the phonograph (quoted in: Morris, p. 546)
[6]     Powers, »The Phonographs Solution«, 1877.
[7]     Powers, »The Phonographs Solution«, 1877.
[8]     “Song of myself,  1892, Walt Whitman
[9]     Thomas Edison in a letter to William Ores, 24. Jan.1921, TENHP; (quoted in Morris, p. 15.)