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Zwicker Alfons Karl

(22. 04. 1952)

Zwicker Alfons Karl
Postfach 634
CH-9004 St. Gallen
Schweiz

Mobile: +41 (0)79 718 12 54
Fax: +41 (0)71 298 08 50
Internet: www.ak-zwicker.ch

Biography
Alfons Karl Zwicker was born in St Gallen and received his education in piano from Hadassa Schwimmer at Winterthur Conservatory and Werner Bärtschi in Zurich. He studied composition in the classes of Rudolf Kelterborn in Basel and Edison Denissow in Lucerne and received his Master of Advanced Studies in Arts Management from Basel University. He is a composer giving particular regard to opera, vocal and orchestral music; the human voice with its musical, language and dramaturgic possibilities is central to his compositional work. These elements he combines and the result is in an almost archaeological discourse with literature. His predominantly cyclical works develop from pieces in preparation for, on reflection of, or detached from his opera projects. The opera or the music theatre (in it’s widest sense) is central to Zwicker’s work, the content is always reduced to a main offender - victim theme and the resulting question of guilt; the human being - the humane resp. inhumane - is a central figure. The composer also works as a painter and designer, the resulting works are in direct reference to his conceptual formulae for composition; they are visual and spatial representations of musical structures, musical processes and the implicit ideas thereof, visual analyses defined by structure and association and a non verbal approach to the secrets, the laws and plans of music. The whole is based on a critical position in relation to language, particularly in the sense of the mistrust and its misuse in the explanation of music. In the context of this music - painting - music reciprocity there develops a constant array of instrumental pieces “as the sound of image and form”.

Work list
Variations for violin solo (1988)
These variations on a separate theme are short assorted characteristic pieces, radical in gesture, from lyrical to soft through to dancy, bizarre and cumbersome.
Duration: 12' 00"
Manuscript
Diskurs (1988)
for piano and two drums (one player)
Various compositional rudiments and aesthetic concepts are set against each other. The players enter a discourse where no one concept ever crystallizes as the one and only truth, there are no dogmas but openings - a step in the direction of integral structure.
Duration: 30' 00"
Manuscript
Nachtduett (1989-1990)
Cycle with poems by Georg Trakl
for mezzo-soprano, bass, flute, harpsichord, four violins, viola, violoncello and double-bass
Texts: Georg Trakl
An erotic, sticky piece that takes the incestuous relationship between Trakls and his sister as its theme. 'Nachtduett' is a series of scenic poems predestined for the stage.
Duration: 20' 00"
SME/EMS
Postfach 7851
CH-6000 Luzern 7
Schweiz
Tel. +41 (0)41 210 60 70
Fax +41 (0)41 210 60 70
mail@musicedition.ch
www.musicedition.ch
CHF: 83.00
Erfrorene Träume (1990-1992)
Cycle based on poems by Josef Kopf
for mezzo-soprano and ensemble (fl(pic).cl(bcl)/hp.pf.hpd/2vn.va.vc.db)
Texts: Josef Kopf
Large-scale song cycle in which the metaphors of ice, cold and freezing are centralised. The leading part for the mezzo-soprano is extremely demanding in the emotional and technical areas. (Vocal range e# - b").
Duration: 29' 00"
SME/EMS
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CHF: 78.00
Pilgerfahrt zu blauen Eisziegeln (1990-1993)
for Baritone and piano
Texts: Josef Kopf
Two songs based on the later poems of Josef Kopf. A compromised winter journey: Death - congealment.
Duration: 8' 00"
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CHF: 23.00
Begegnung mit dem Eis (1992-1993)
for medium sized orchestra (1.1.1.1/2.1.3.0/hp/pf/3perc/10.2.2.1)
The creation and destruction of a natural ice sculpture as an acoustic experience, based on an experiment (captured on video) by the artist Kurt Matt of Bregenz. A deer skull with antlers lies beneath a rock face dripping with water. During the winter the skull becomes gradually encased in ice. Spring: thaw – rockslide - destruction.
Duration: 14' 00"
Manuscript
Rituale für Fada (1994)
for string quartet
Large-scale string quartet, which opens a discourse on the African way of making music, be it vocally or instrumentally. This piece is based on rituals still alive in Togo today. ‘Fada’ is Togolian and means ‘Father’. Fada is clergyman Karl Rohrbach, who has offered his exemplary services for development aid in Togo for more than twenty years.
The strings also play pedal drums, rattles and blow a whistle. The third passage is to be performed with live electronic.

Duration: 54' 00"
SME/EMS
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CHF: 65.00
Tropfen auf Stein (1995)
Cycle based on poems by Elisabeth Heck
for baritone, flute (pic, afl, bfl), harp, piano, one percussion and viola
Texts: Elisabeth Heck
Very introspective and contemplative song cycle with an increasingly ruminant character. A very subtle and diversified sound world whose centre is the metaphor of stone in all its varieties.
Duration: 30' 00"
SME/EMS
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CHF: 62.00
Vom Klang der Bilder: I. Blutgesang (1987-1996)
Cycle
for large orchestra and piano solo (2.2.3.2/3.2.3.1/4perc/hp/24.6.6.4(five stringed))
‘Vom Klang der Bilder’ (from the sound of images):
An orchestral cycle based on pictures by Buchholz, Klee, Kandinsky, Klein and Fruhtrunk. The five pieces span a cyclic arch that is anchored in the laws of life.
I. ‘Blutgesang’ (blood song): destruction, swan song, tears, sadness, grievance
II. ‘Choral und Landschaft’ (choral landscape): hope, confidence, humbleness, belief, nature
III. ‘Gegenklänge’ (a mediant): re-polarisation, existence of contradictions
IV. ‘Monochromes Blau’ (monochrome blue): Movement in statics, pause, mediation, illusion, paradise on earth
V. ‘Orgelpunkt’ (pedal point): painful recurrence of the same in being different.

Duration: 17' 00"
Manuscript
Vom Klang der Bilder:II Choral und Landschaft (1987-1996)
Cycle
for large orchestra and piano solo (2.2.3.2/3.2.3.1/4perc/hp/24.6.6.4(five stringed))
‘Vom Klang der Bilder’ (from the sound of images):
An orchestral cycle based on pictures by Buchholz, Klee, Kandinsky, Klein and Fruhtrunk. The five pieces span a cyclic arch that is anchored in the laws of life.
I. ‘Blutgesang’ (blood song): destruction, swan song, tears, sadness, grievance
II. ‘Choral und Landschaft’ (choral landscape): hope, confidence, humbleness, belief, nature
III. ‘Gegenklänge’ (a mediant): re-polarisation, existence of contradictions
IV. ‘Monochromes Blau’ (monochrome blue): Movement in statics, pause, mediation, illusion, paradise on earth
V. ‘Orgelpunkt’ (pedal point): painful recurrence of the same in being different.

Duration: 21' 00"
Manuscript
Vom Klang der Bilder: III. Gegenklänge (1988-1989/93)
Cycle
for large orchestra and piano solo (2.2.3.2/3.2.3.1/4perc/hp/24.6.6.4(five stringed))
‘Vom Klang der Bilder’ (from the sound of images):
An orchestral cycle based on pictures by Buchholz, Klee, Kandinsky, Klein and Fruhtrunk. The five pieces span a cyclic arch that is anchored in the laws of life.
I. ‘Blutgesang’ (blood song): destruction, swan song, tears, sadness, grievance
II. ‘Choral und Landschaft’ (choral landscape): hope, confidence, humbleness, belief, nature
III. ‘Gegenklänge’ (a mediant): re-polarisation, existence of contradictions
IV. ‘Monochromes Blau’ (monochrome blue): Movement in statics, pause, mediation, illusion, paradise on earth
V. ‘Orgelpunkt’ (pedal point): painful recurrence of the same in being different.

Duration: 13' 00"
SME/EMS
Postfach 7851
CH-6000 Luzern 7
Schweiz
Tel. +41 (0)41 210 60 70
Fax +41 (0)41 210 60 70
mail@musicedition.ch
www.musicedition.ch
CHF: 65.00
Vom Klang der Bilder: IV. Monochromes Blau (1987-1996)
Cycle
for large orchestra and piano solo (2.2.3.2/3.2.3.1/4perc/hp/24.6.6.4(five stringed))
‘Vom Klang der Bilder’ (from the sound of images):
An orchestral cycle based on pictures by Buchholz, Klee, Kandinsky, Klein and Fruhtrunk. The five pieces span a cyclic arch that is anchored in the laws of life.
I. ‘Blutgesang’ (blood song): destruction, swan song, tears, sadness, grievance
II. ‘Choral und Landschaft’ (choral landscape): hope, confidence, humbleness, belief, nature
III. ‘Gegenklänge’ (a mediant): re-polarisation, existence of contradictions
IV. ‘Monochromes Blau’ (monochrome blue): Movement in statics, pause, mediation, illusion, paradise on earth
V. ‘Orgelpunkt’ (pedal point): painful recurrence of the same in being different.

Duration: 13' 00"
SME/EMS
Postfach 7851
CH-6000 Luzern 7
Schweiz
Tel. +41 (0)41 210 60 70
Fax +41 (0)41 210 60 70
mail@musicedition.ch
www.musicedition.ch
CHF: 57.00
Vom Klang der Bilder: V. Orgelpunkt (1987-1996)
Cycle
for large orchestra and piano solo (2.2.3.2/3.2.3.1/4perc/hp/24.6.6.4(five stringed))
‘Vom Klang der Bilder’ (from the sound of images):
An orchestral cycle based on pictures by Buchholz, Klee, Kandinsky, Klein and Fruhtrunk. The five pieces span a cyclic arch that is anchored in the laws of life.
I. ‘Blutgesang’ (blood song): destruction, swan song, tears, sadness, grievance
II. ‘Choral und Landschaft’ (choral landscape): hope, confidence, humbleness, belief, nature
III. ‘Gegenklänge’ (a mediant): re-polarisation, existence of contradictions
IV. ‘Monochromes Blau’ (monochrome blue): Movement in statics, pause, mediation, illusion, paradise on earth
V. ‘Orgelpunkt’ (pedal point): painful recurrence of the same in being different.

Duration: 12' 00"
Manuscript
Postludien (1995-1997)
for violin and piano
Ironic, humorous, partly satirical, characteristic pieces. The title and musical thoughts spring from graphic variations on the violin clef. The drawings are by the composer; the originals are available for inspection from the composer.
musikalisch 2’
gemächlich 6’
verschämt 5’
con fuoco 3’
romantisch 3’

Duration: 19' 00"
SME/EMS
Postfach 7851
CH-6000 Luzern 7
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CHF: 39.00
Die Höllenmaschine (1996-1998)
An opera in four acts based on a piece bearing the same name by Jean Cocteau
for ten voices, choir and orchestra (2(pic,afl).1.2(bcl).2(cbn)/2.2.2(2btbn).0/hp.pf/acn/gtr/4perc/8.4.4.2(five stringed))
Texts: Jean Cocteau
Wit, irony, action, situation comedy, but also dramaturgical artifice and dramatic climaxes are all characteristics that distinguish 'Cocteaus Oedipus' (hell machine) as predestined opera material. The piece is strongly stamped by the roles of the four main characters, who are, from a musical and performing piont of veiw, at the same time a pleasure and a challenge. The self contained act of the sphinx, like a monumental and dramatic highlight, is central to the opera.Young soldier: baritone - Soldier: tenor - Phantom: bass - Captain: bass - Jokaste: mezzo-soprano - Teiresias: Speaker - Anubis: countertenor - Sphinx: soprano - Matron: alto - Oedipus: tenor - Kreon: bass (with falsetto) - Antigone: girl soprano.
Duration: abendfüllend
Manuscript
Konstellation mit Mondtransit (1998-1999)
for soprano, violin, trombone, violoncello, clarinet and piano
A piece with aperspective performance practice. The ever-changing aspects on the radix planets (instrumentalists) by the transitory moon (soprano) are made audible.
Duration: 16' 00"
SME/EMS
Postfach 7851
CH-6000 Luzern 7
Schweiz
Tel. +41 (0)41 210 60 70
Fax +41 (0)41 210 60 70
mail@musicedition.ch
www.musicedition.ch
CHF: 55.00
Kosmogramm I (1998-1999)
for piano solo
An expansive and very demanding piece taking the main outlines and aims of the age of Aquarius as its theme.
Duration: 25' 00"
SME/EMS
Postfach 7851
CH-6000 Luzern 7
Schweiz
Tel. +41 (0)41 210 60 70
Fax +41 (0)41 210 60 70
mail@musicedition.ch
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CHF: 47.00
Erinnerung an Nelly Sachs (1999)
for two flutes, harpsichord and female voice
Texts: Nelly Sachs
Tracing the characters in sand. Dismantled word sounds emerge and disappear - only guessing remains. The text particles are in strict rhythmic notation and are spoken as “speechsound”, only at the end is the voice recognised as a singing voice.
Duration: 17' 00"
SME/EMS
Postfach 7851
CH-6000 Luzern 7
Schweiz
Tel. +41 (0)41 210 60 70
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CHF: 39.00
Nelly Sachs - Triptychon I: Eine Scheidelinie wird weiter hinausgezogen (A Seperating line is Further Protracted) (2000-2001)
Opera in one act
for soprano, baritone and orchestra (1.1.1.bcl.0/0.2.1.0/hp.acn.pf/5perc/str)
Texts: Nelly Sachs
Opera after a scenic poem bearing the same name by Nelly Sachs. A piece about separation and the impossibility of the restoration of humans on a higher level of abstraction. The separating line is as a continuous all-determining musical frontier: all occurrences on the outside relate inevitably to this all-controlling line, which gradually thins until it finally breaks.
Duration: 26' 00"
Manuscript
Trauernd (2001)
Klee-Sound
for oboe, bassoon, viola and guitar
A musical adaptation of a picture bearing the same name by Paul Klee. The endless line is as a determinant of the linear process of this very lineal piece and as an expression of mourning. Modified guitar sounds form the iridescent and disconcerting background.
Duration: 8' 00"
Manuscript
Empathie (2001-2002)
for soprano, violoncello and electronic tape
Texts: Else Lasker-Schüler
Humbleness: empathy as a form of musical expression. Three sound levels: soloisitic cello, electronically processed speech sound and the singing voice.
Duration: 20' 00"
Manuscript
Verständigung (2002)
Memories of the dungeon
for ensemble (1.1.1.0/1.1.1.0/perc/hp/1.1.1.1)
Duration: 6' 00"
Manuscript
Botschaften des Regens (Messages of the Rains) (2003)
for violoncello and percussion
Musical version of a poem bearing the same name by Günter Eich. Rain sounds are as a message; a sound-alphabet built on several parameters and used as musical material (‘rattling letters’). A highly defined sonic world is produced by the percussion using partly prepared instruments and drumsticks. The cello also demonstrates percussive actions.
Duration: 26' 00"
Manuscript
Landschaft aus Schreien (Landscape of Screams) (2003)
for mezzo-soprano and piano
Texts: Nelly Sachs
The scream as a musical parameter in voice and instrument in it’s entire diversity, but particularly as an inner scream. Stifled sounds.
Duration: 24' 00"
Manuscript
Der Tod und das Mädchen (2005)
Opera in six scenes
Libretto by Daniel Fuchs after Ariel Dorfman.
Duration: 90' 00"
Manuscript
Monogramme (2004-2007)
Eight piano pieces
Duration: 45' 00"
Manuscript
Secretum (2006-2007)
8 pieces after the ancient I Ching symbols
for violoncello and double bass
Qián the creative
Kūn the receptive
Zhèn the arousing
Kǎn the abysmal
Gèn the keeping still
Xùn the gentle
Lí the clinging
Duì the joyous
I Ching – The Book of Changes – presents us with ancient symbols that have remained valid and unchanged for over five thousand years. This ancient knowledge found its way into Chinese culture in approx. 3000 BC and is still nurtured in China to this day. The same archetypes, widespread across the whole of Eurasia, were considered an indispensible secretum. Secret = covert and mystery - both of which are necessary for their preservation.
These archetypes each represent a state of being and are made up of continuous and broken lines - always three in number. Each line within the symbol denotes a different level and modality of being, and thus implies an appropriate behaviour or action. Transformation within the same symbol is therefore a central theme.
These pieces fulfill two compositional functions: the basic character of each symbol is converted into sound, and then - of prime importance - the three levels within the symbol are made audible.
I Ching: The Book of Changes: something of the transformation process within these symbols should be heard in this music.
Duration: 36' 00"
Manuscript
Mirlitonnades (2007)
for mezzo-soprano and 6 instruments (fl, ob, cl, tbn, vn, acn)
Texts: Samuel Beckett
Duration: 27' 00"
Manuscript
L'été symmétric (≪Le jardin sous les eaux≫, Teil 2) (2009-2010)
for large orchestra (3.2.ca.2.bcl.2.cbcl/4.4.3.1/4perc/2hp/str[24,12,6,6])
Duration: 12' 00"
Manuscript
Monstrosität (2009-2010)
for four-handed piano
Duration: 11' 00"
Manuscript
Zufall (2010)
for four-handed piano
Duration: 10' 00"
Manuscript
Erinnerungen im Ohr, 1. In der Dunkelheit (2011-2012)
for trombone solo and ensemble (1.1.1.sx.0/0.1.1.0/2perc/acn/str[vn,va,vc,db])
Duration: 12' 00"-14' 00"
Manuscript
Erinnerungen im Ohr, 2. Der Irre (2011-2012)
for trombone solo and ensemble (1.1.1.sx.0/0.1.1.0/2perc/acn/str[vn,va,vc,db])
Duration: 10' 00"-11' 00"
Manuscript
Erinnerungen im Ohr, 3. Los compañeros (2011-2012)
Antiphon
for trombone solo and ensemble (1.1.0.bcl.asx.0/0.1.1.0/2perc/acn/str[vn,va,vc,db])
Duration: 15' 00"-17' 00"
Manuscript
Diskographie
Alfons Karl Zwicker (Musiques Suisses Nr. CTS-M 133, 2011)
Werke:
Zwicker, Alfons Karl: Der Tod und das Mädchen (2005)
Peter Waters - Monogramme - Alfons Karl Zwicker (Creative Works Records Nr. CW 1052, 2008)
Werke:
Zwicker, Alfons Karl: Monogramme (2004-2007)
Mit weiteren Werken von: J.S. Bach
Alfons Karl Zwicker - Bruno Karrer (stv/asm Nr. 7, 1999)
Interpreten:
Wyttenbach, Jürg
Werke:
Zwicker, Alfons Karl: Erfrorene Träume (1990-1992)
Karrer, Bruno: „mäander“ (1996-1997)
Info: www.fonoteca.ch
Arioso-Quartett St. Gallen (Classic 2000 Nr. C2 / 9, 1996)
Werke:
Zwicker, Alfons Karl: Rituale für Fada (1994)
Karrer, Bruno: „zur aneignung“ (1992-1993)
Schoeck, Othmar: Streichquartett in D-Dur, op. 23 (1911-1913)
Info: www.fonoteca.ch
Bibliography
Nolte, Lisa D.: Blutrote Betroffenheit. Alfons Karl Zwickers Oper "Der Tod und das Mädchen" am Theater St. Gallen (September bis November 2011), in: Dissonanz 117 (2012), S. 59-60 [Internet]
Spoerri, Bettina: Ein Ton als Scheidelinie, in: St. Galler Tagblatt (27. Oktober 2001) (2001), S. 23
Riklin, Adrian: Die Geburt der Musik aus dem alltäglichen Drama, in: Saiten - Kulturzeitschrift 44 (1997)