Moving through a city is a good metaphor for listening to new music. A big city will invite you through unfamiliar streets, into dark alleyways and sudden openings of light. It demands active participation, it offers new experiences, and there are countless ways of moving from one point to the next; a multitude of possible itineraries open up for both the wanderer and the listener. Traversing a city lets you meditate on construction and decay, on human ingenuity and the inevitable forces of time. Apparent chaos suddenly reveals a beautiful logic. Seemingly random patterns turn out to be networks of human interaction. And underneath the solid surfaces there’s always nature, waiting to take over, to obliterate our structures with organic growth. I have tried to make these liminal states audible in Possible Cities / Essential Landscapes. The work is an invitation to listen into a landscape where stories emerge, multiply and disappear. As Italo Calvino phrases it in Invisible Cities: “It is not the voice that commands the story: It is the ear.”

Possible Cities/Essential Landscapes is a cycle of chamber music and ensemble works written between 2005 and 2009, commissioned by Cikada and Ensemble Intercontemporain. Eivind Buene (b. Oslo, 1973) studied at the Norwgian Academy of Music from 1992 to 1998. He writes for ensembles, orchestras and soloists, engages frequently in collaborations with improvising musicians. In addition to music, Buene has written critique, essays and novels.
Since its 1989 formation in Oslo, the CIKADA has developed a refined and highly acclaimed profile on the international contemporary music scene. From the very beginning, Cikada has consisted of flute, clarinet, piano, percussion, string quintet and conductor Christian Eggen. All ten are equal, permanent members, and the ensemble has become synonymous with the Oslo Sound of fresh, vibrant, warm and virtuosic interpretations of consciously selected, contemporary repertoire. In concerts at major international festivals and on numerous albums, Cikada’s distinct ensemble profile manifests itself in strong programming. Integral to this work is a wish to develop long-term collaborations with composers and to build composer portraits with commissioned works over time. Cikada was awarded the prestigious Nordic Music Prize in 2005.

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