Tramespace I

for 18 players divided in 2 groups (2012–13)


Instrumentation: – – 2perc.,pno, harp. –
Commissioned by:
Gaudeamus Muziekweek for Asko|Schönberg Ensemble

Study Score available for purchase


Tramespace is a hybrid word composed of two French words, “trame” (woof, or weft in English), meaning the crosswise threads on a loom over and under which other threads (the warp) are passed to make cloth, and “espace” (meaning space). The metaphorical loom is a context from which the musical materials are woven. Just as each thread is carefully placed and integrated to create a textile, each sound gesture, each musical impulse is threaded with precise intention. As the musical filaments are carefully interlaced – heterogenous, yet collaborating to become one – the surface becomes rich with patterns while depth is made by the multitude of interacting strands. At times, the weave is loosened and a thread becomes entangled, exposing the threads as merely threads just momentarily and no longer as fabric, shifting perspective and seeing things anew, even altered once the yarn becomes rejoined. In tandem, the concept of space and its elusive quality is something Onishi became interested in during conversations with close friend, composer Mahir Cetiz, most notably regarding the “compositional space” in his work, Départ dans… As space is inexorably tied with time, with an elapsing sense of immediacy and memory, the awareness of physical and metaphysical space is fluid. As music passes with time, it fills a space, interacts with it and leaves it. It makes you aware of the room you are sitting in, yet your sense of inner space has expanded limitlessly. For Onishi, “…it lingers to the territory of the unknown…” and for him, this piece “is, in a sense, an attempt to circumscribe this metaphysical space using the sound that is developed over time.” His work is also informed in part from the philosophical discussion of “self” that is put in the context of the world as a space by Japanese philosopher Shizuteru Ueda in his “Two-Fold Being-in-the-World.” Tramespace I was commissioned by Gaudeamus Muziekweek as a result of receiving the Gaudeamus Prize in 2011. Tramespace II, still a work in progress, is commissioned by Ensemble Intercontemporain in Paris. Tramespace I and II can be played separately, although playing them together forms a coherent whole as a diptych. – Program notes by Michelle Lou


Performance History

New Japan Philharmonic
Yoichi Sugiyama, cond.
Suntory Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Akutagawa Composition Award

09/02/2013 WP
ASKO|Schönberg Ensemble
Clark Rundell, cond.
Geertekerk, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Gaudeamus Muziekweek Opening Concert 2013

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