GEORGES LENTZ - composer / sound artist
Caeli enarrant III
Cobar Sound Chapel
from 'Mysterium' ("Caeli enarrant..." VII)
for solo electric guitar (2003-2018)
Ingwe = night.
The initial idea for Ingwe came to me during a car trip to the Outback in December 2004. One evening at the "Royal Hotel", a pub in Brewarrina, Northern NSW, a man sat alone tuning up his electric guitar for that night’s rock gig. I was working on a piece for solo cello at the time but knew immediately that I should write something for the guitar instead – the whole loneliness and desolation of the place (and indeed my own loneliness) seemed to be encapsulated in that man’s sound (only years later, in 2008, did I find out that the man must have been Rocko Crawford, an Aboriginal from Brewarrina, and that he passed away not long after I heard him). Sitting in the pub late that evening, I could see the whole work before my mind's eye in a kind of intuitive flash. I left the pub in a hurry and wrote some extensive initial sketches that same night, sitting in my car in the middle of the desert (in Old Mission Road, just outside of Brewarrina).
2005 - countless sketches, incorporating bits from the rejected cello piece, which I had been working on since 2003. First contact with the performer of the premiere, Zane Banks, with whom I have been working closely ever since.
March 2006 – first complete draft during a week-long stay in the silence of the Benedictine abbey in Clervaux, Luxembourg. I am sure the many passages with "melismatic" inflectons go back to hearing the monks' chant 5 times daily during that week. I have reworked the piece extensively since, scrapping bits, adding new ones…
Ingwe is on the one hand the radiant night sky in the silent vastness of the desert - on the other hand, and in this piece more importantly, the ‘night within’: darkness and pain in my own life at the time I was writing the piece, depression, loneliness, the suicide of one of my closest friends. It is also the night surrounding us in the world every day - hatred, violence, greed, disease, the wilful destruction of our planet...
I now see my whole cycle, “Caeli enarrant…”, as one great spiritual ‘downward journey’. Having launched into “Caeli enarrant…” in 1989 in naïve pantheistic grandeur, my journey has reached an extremely dark point in this new work. I see the desolation of the Outback as a metaphor for the spiritual changes I have been working through in recent years, and of which my music must be a reflection: I have been doubting more and more whether there is a God out there caring for us, for anything - whether there is a God full stop. While many people may not be troubled by such thoughts, for me this has been a terribly painful realisation to come to terms with. In this sense, Ingwe is a tormented, almost demonic meditation about God's silence and the impossibility of praying, a desperate shout to the heavens, a vision of blackness. It is only the constant background presence of this very ‘demon’ in my music that makes me wonder - do I know perhaps that I have not quite left the 'higher regions' behind after all? Because there is no night without day. No darkness without light. No silence without sound. Without deafening noise.
Weistu was so schweig.
G. L. 2008
A second version of Ingwe was premiered by Zane Banks on March 24, 2018 at Watters Gallery in Sydney. This updated version is the only valid one now and the only one to be performed henceforth.
* Watch a documentary about the birth of Ingwe.