When composing “Constellations I”, I first started to search for interesting new sounds to create on any marimba’s corpus, regardless of its design of construction. While experimenting with different mallets, I also came across a new concept of mallet arrangement. By using a high contrast in hardness in only one pair and mirroring it to the other hand, I could now play both the percussive sounds (which require a very transparent attack) and the marimba plates with both hands, or simultaneously in one hand.
The piece consists of multiple parts, exploring possibilities of incorporating a “set-up approach” to the instrument. Each part emerges out of a different composing technique, including free atonality, bitonality, serial music or classical harmony, forged together by a pressing atmosphere as well as “rhythmical cadenzas”, guiding to new polyrhythms or rhythm shifts. In the end, the piece resolves in a reharmonized reprise of the intro, using lighter sound effects generated by hands and body to create an echo-like character.
After playing the finished composition to my girlfriend, she visualised the piece as an image of a “technical drawing”, which eventually inspired me to come up with the name “Constellations”. The roman letter I foreshadows the possibility of a potential “answer” to this work.