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Reed my lips  (1991)

"Read my lips: no new taxes" is a now famous phrase spoken by former American president and candidate George H. W. Bush. Don´t really know about the taxes but he sure started a war, happily followed up by the great son of his, the all infamous George W.

The toying with the spelling of the title (reed) of course refers to the reed of the wind instruments in a wind quintet. This was another first time experience of an instrument combination for me as a mainly acousmatic composer. As usual I found myself in the awkward position of trying to relate to a combination of instruments with a strong historical connotation. What I did (apart from adding electronic sounds on tape) was to break up the quintet in three movements in combinations of uneven numbers; solo, trio and quintet. I also decided to add a visual aspect of the piece in the form of dimly lit semitransparent pillars on stage. The musicians would be inside the pillars thus creating a  magic semi presence of the players on stage. In a sense this also blurs the border between “pure” acousmatic music where you never see any performers and the “pure” instrumental music where performers is all you see. This was for me an important point of the piece even though it turned out to be rather impractical way of working in concert halls not intended for this kind of theatrical set up. Maybe that´s the reason that the piece was only performed twice in it´s intended form.... “Reed my lips” was commissioned by the Jönköpings Länsmusik and was premiered by Jönköpings Wind Quintet.

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