Chamber 4

Portugal/France

In Paris, in the City of Light, when the sky turns into darkness, you see a flock of birds, a murmuration of starlings, dancing together across the vast expanse of the universe above you. They move together with absolute unpredictability, but slowly. Then you hear their sound. A trumpet. A cello. A guitar. A violin. You hear four instruments. And they move as one. In all directions. Slow now. At superspeed next. Crazy. Impossible. Beautiful. Unpredictable. Chaotic. Ordered. You don’t see them anymore. You just hear them. Moving, relentlessly, maddeningly. A musical flock of starlings. Doing their dance. Out of joy. Out of fear. Out of distress. Nobody knows what moves them, you just hear their arabesques of sound, twirling around in the sky. 

They move as one. They move as one with distinct voices. Yet they move forward, tightly, propulsed with a common sense of purpose, driven by a common emotional power, a collective manifestation of shared and shifting sentiments. It is all about dynamics. About intensity, focus and openness. 

In physics there is a concept of ‘critical systems’, systems that are on the absolute edge between order and chaos, balancing between extreme opportunities and collapse. Systems poised on the brink, capable of near-instantaneous transformation, all the different elements making up the system moving as one, as if linked by an unknown knowledge. You see this too in the murmuration of starlings. The starlings do not follow a leader. If they did, they would move in the same direction and with order, but no, they move without a leader, but as a single system, with a collective response to one element that might change, creating their mesmerising dance of total unpredictability and beauty, coherent and frivolous, evolving into forms you have never seen before, never heard before. Their most surprising and exotic feature is their near-instantaneous signal-processing speed, a factor which remains a mystery. This is what you get here. 

Something unusual, something unique, a wonderful dance of shifting emotions and aesthetic beauty, expanding and contracting, moving to the left and to the right, full of energy, sometimes contained, sometimes unleashed, sounds shifts and change, moods shift and change, and move steadily forward, propelled by the other instruments into a relentless cadence, by the repetitive phrases on the guitar, the long stretched notes of the trumpet, and the lyrical lines of the cello, the explorative escape by the violin, not too far, taking a different angle, only subtly and it is followed by the trumpet, weaving forward, changing roles, but all moving together, finding deep in themselves the same emotions to drive the music forward, which can be quiet contemplation, or raging frenzy and distress or quiet pain and despair or sentiments as yet unnamed, always intense and raw and fragile. Shimmering. Radiating energy and human warmth. 

You watch the night sky. You hear the sounds in their wonderful dance. The mystery and beauty of it. 

(Stef Gijssels)

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