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Eloy - Musik mit Bilder der Isolation


Kommas Ensemble

When and where

10.11.2017 Kunst-Station - Sankt Peter - Cologne

About the work


Video by Nicolás Rupcich

Upon composing the music for this project which already started in 2013, it was examined how individual voices can interact or interrelate. The complete piece is designed as musical theater which is to come alive through the concept of the independence of tempos and characters. More concretely, it consists of various monologues of every instrument involved.

The “characters” - that is the instrumentalists – tell something without their relationship being exactly recognizable. They all go their own ways without knowing why they met on stage. In a certain way it all deals with a kind of isolation suddenly and furiously clashing, without a clear interaction occurring. The parallel pathways run simultaneously and are yet irrelevant to each other. With this in mind a special dimension of coexistence while playing was elaborated, to be described by the term isolation.

A term also to be interpreted as focus of the novel. Of all the books by Carlos Droguett the German-speaking public knows only Eloy, originally published in 1959. It was his first successful novel which made him well-known far beyond his national borders and was translated into several languages. Droguett takes up the case of a mass murderer which was a sensation in Chile in 1941. Not the spectacular deeds of the author but the inner life, the motif of the criminal. So the book is a single monologue of this Eloy, who – pursued by the police – in the face of death is recapitulating his life and crimes.


This piece was conceived to be played in the Kunst-Station - Sankt Peter because of the very reverberant acoustics of the place. A voice recording had to be played back with some of the videos during the piece, and it should sound as dry as possible, and a high quality recording had to be made for documentation purposes.

Sound Design

The church has a very long reverberation, but with a fairly balanced sound that fitted the piece very well. Francisco chose this church for the premiere because of its acoustical properties, so a big part of the sound design was already made by the composer. Some instruments needed to be amplified in different parts of the piece, but as this piece was actually to be performed without amplification, this had to be done in a unnoticeable way. The playback consisted of a very closed up recording of a deep voice, and it had to sound very intimate.


For the recording I used an AB setup with two omnidirectional microphones directly behind the conductor as the main sound source. Every instrument had also one or more close up microphones to allow the possibility of changing the balance or the colour of the sound, mostly in parts of the music that had a lot of small details. For the sound projection I decided to use a stereo setup plus two delay lines in the middle of the hall. The second set of speakers were there to get a more close up sound for the playbacks and not for level loss from the front speakers as the hall is not very long. Also all speakers were placed fairly high (at aprox. three meters) and angled down at approximately 40 degrees to get as much direct sound as possible.


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