KEIN is a continuing exploration and extension of François Sarhan’s fascination with the absurd, counterintuitive and virtuosic in both presentation and performance practice. The four performers of Red Note’s core string quartet have been given a number of familiar / unfamiliar newly designed and constructed instruments-the majority derived from Stroh instruments – to play by François, as well as being required to create a performance that embraces the use of the voice, theatrical techniques and François’ use of a distinctive mise en scène in his characteristically absorbing visual and musical style.
Compositionally, the topic of the piece is to playfully question the various combinations within a string quartet, from the solo and the duo, to the quartet, and eventually the addition of mechanical instruments (pipe organ and miniature hurdy- gurdy amongst them) as counterparts. The role-playing games go with spoken text, the interchangeability of the instruments, and their positions in space, as well as recurrent motifs. The reason for the use of the unfamiliar instruments is to emphasise the relationships between the musicians and their instruments – counterintuitively, as ever with François, by creating a distance between them.
© John Harris / François Sarhan
François Sarhan, Composer, director
Red Note Ensemble:
Jackie Shave, violin
Tom Hankey, violin
Katie Wilkinson, viola
Robert Irvine, cello
Production Manager: Kostas Christakos
Producer: Katja Armknecht
Produced by hcmf// supported by Creative Scotland, Diaphonique Franco-British Fund for Contemporary Music, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and soundfestival
Instruments by Stephanie Irvine and Garri Kritjansson
hcmf Huddersfield, UK
Festival Musiques Démesurées, France
Sound Festival, Aberdeen, UK