In F.O.W.L. Simon Løffler combines conventional and unconventional instruments, an act that puts the musician and the musician's physical appearance in relief, the composer explains: "It is quite often the case with conventional instruments that you basically control them with your fingertips. I have always been interested in bringing more of the body into play, so when I combine conventional and unconventional instruments, it is, among other things, to give the music a more physical expression.” The composer is fully aware that he achieves the physically expressive character at the expense of the fine nuances of the instruments. "You could say that I am interested in reducing the large expressive ambitus of classical instruments, in order to bring something else into them instead," he says
Simon Løffler has previously attempted to escape the conventions associated with Western concert hall music through works based on meticulous and spectacular instrument constructions, and in recent years he has developed several new works based on the aesthetic behaviour of animals.
"After writing for alternative instruments for many years, I had the desire to return to a combination of common and uncommon instruments," says Løffler, about the starting point for F.O.W.L., which is his first work for ensemble in ten years. In the process of composing the piece, he has been in close dialogue with some of the musicians of Oslo Sinfonietta, and together with them he has experimented with various material on their respective instruments.
"The work consists of four movements, which explore different instrumental ideas and scenic constellations," the composer explains. The four movements flow through different setups, including a sort of chair dance where tones and sounds are produced by a chair being moved around the stage, a swan aria on a modified siren whistle, melodic interweaving of ordinary and extraordinary instruments and a choir of long swung whistles.
"The idea in all four movements is that you start in a kind of disparate tutti crowd, where everyone plays together," says Simon Løffler. "I imagine a fowl, a big odd flock of cackling individuals, and in each movement, there is a creature that runs off and goes solo."
Simon Løffler's F.O.W.L. will be premiered by Oslo Sinfonietta at KLANG Festival on 3 June at 19.30 at Musikhuset Copenhagen. Read more about the concert here.
On 6 November 2023, F.O.W.L. will be performed at November Music in the Netherlands.