Multimedia music series 7: Emotional logic by Misha Cvijović
Watch my interview with Berlin-based composer Misha Cvijović on her piece Emotional Logic. It is pieces composed for voice, ensemble, video, and fixed electronics. Emotional Logic is a research-based piece where the composer focuses on how a long period of isolation due to Covid 19 affects an ensemble, especially in the comparison of the previously documented individual pre-corona self with the respective experiences during the crisis and the relationship to it in the past, present and future. The research, the collection of materials and the formal structure (consisting of improvised and composed elements) reflect the recurring chaos that arises when one is confronted with strong emotions in isolation in a very controlled, unusual situation. The six basic human emotions (fear, disgust, sadness, anger, joy and surprise) are used as a kind of lens through which the composer looks at the quarantine period.
Watch Emotional Logic:
Research texts that illustrate parts in Emotional Logic:
- FEAR for voice and analogue synthesizer prophet 08
’I always refer to it as some sort of Zombie Apocalypse, because I think it’s so surreal that none of us really had a plan for it. Suddenly facing who knows how many days, how many weeks of nothingness, is very confronting. And I think a lot of people had the same cycle: at the very beginning we were very motivated, cause we were still on this kind of highly structured schedule and it took a few weeks to come down, longer than I expected. I see it as quite an interesting kind of reflection on human ability to adapt. And then it wasn’t that bad after all. It took Zombie Apocalypse for me to finally paint my apartment, to fix that tab in the kitchen that had been leaking for five years. Zombie Apocalypse had its good sides.”
2) DIGUST for voice,violin and violoncello
‘’While I was isolated I had the feeling that the media and especially social media is driving me crazy. For the first time in my life data was coming like vomit, in our houses like WRUUGH. And they said it’s science, but just data is not science. Data is data. And that was actually driving me crazy, like really crazy, losing touch with reality. It’s like a huge digital experiment that nobody really signed up for but we’re all in it. And the more I talked to other people the more I realized that it’s very helpful to communicate in person and how much you need that to stay healthy in your head.’’
3) SADNESS for voice, alt flute, bass clarinet, violin, violoncello
‘’This is a very strange spring. I’m not really enjoying spring as I always do. Not being able to see friends and family is certainly very sad and it’s a big loss to your whole being and inspiration. We had a few Skype dates with friends, that was nice but it’s just not the same. So now that things have opened up a bit it’s been really nice to catch up and just go for a walk and not to talk for a while and just be with that person. On Skype you feel like you need to say something all the time. You can’t sit there looking at each other like you could if you were at a lake or something. I’ve heard stories about the opera, they are allowed to sing, but they have to be six meters apart. So any sort of love scene, like a long goodbye, it’s rather going to feel like “und tschüss”, it’s just not going to be the same. Distance is not very easy, for me, I think.’’
4) ANGER for voice, flute, bass clarinet, percussions, piano, violin and violoncello
‘’We heard the president of the republic, we heard this speech which sounded like we were in 1940. Like he thought he was de Gaulle. With this very… for me unpleasant way of speaking. He didn’t know anything, but he was feeding the fire, like we were at war. For me, it was a semantic bomb. The 12 or 15 minutes he was talking he structured his speech with this little phrase: “We are at war, bla bla bla, we are at war.” Of course that was constructed; it was very much musically constructed, the whole speech. From a compositional point of view it was actually very interesting: how you put something to keep the attention of the people tight. But I really don’t like that because you set the playground for communication with the topics you use, like toys you want to play with, and if you put war inside, then it’s very dangerous.’’
Misha Cvijović is a Serbian composer and pianist based in Berlin. She developed her musical career in the fields of instrumental and orchestral contemporary music, electroacoustic music, contemporary opera and musical theater, theatre and film music. Misha Cvijović’s compositions have been performed at numerous festivals and concerts, including, Heroines of Sound, Opening of the Month of Contemporary Music Berlin, SONIC MATTER Zürich, MaerzMusik, 11. Impuls Graz, Klangwerkstatt Festival für Neue Musik Berlin, Unerhörte Musik, WDR 3 techné : Minimoog, Symposium Neues Musiktheater Deutsche Oper Berlin, 40th Saarbrücker Filmfestival Max-Ophüls Preis, Achtung Berlin, Cannes Film Festival, etc. Her compositions have been performed by many contemporary music ensembles and orchestras, including: Ensemble LUX:NM, Zafraan Ensemble, Ensemble RADAR, Zone Experimentale Basel, Orchestra Radio Television Serbia, etc. Her compositions have been conducted by Titus Engel, Alessandro Crudele, Mike Svoboda, Nodoka Okisawa, Musashi Baba.
Photo from the piece: