World premiere: Margareta Ferek-Petric’s Piano Concerto

World premiere: Margareta Ferek-Petric’s Piano Concerto

World premiere of the Piano Concerto “The Orgy of Oxymorons” by Margareta Ferek-Petric
October 7th at the Musikprotokoll by Steirischer Herbst with conductor Yalda Zamani and the Radio Symphony Orchestra.

When I first met Margareta Ferek-Petric during our studies at the Music University in Vienna, I played some of her works at student concerts. During the long after show parties in our early 20s, a wonderful friendship developed, and has carried us through our transition from students to the professional life. For my album Insomnia, I asked her to write me a piece for a very special moment in the dramaturgy of the album. She captured in “Last Smoke” the mood of Insomnia on a deeper level than we both ever imagined. I therefore was even more excited to had the opportunity to play the world premiere of her 1st Piano Concerto at the Musikprotokoll in Graz with Yalda Zamani and the Radio Symphony Orchestra! This was just such a beautiful combination of my personal and professional life.

And because Margareta can describe her works best, here are some of her thoughts about her Piano Concerto:

„The orgy of oxymorons”: As a rhetorical figure, the oxymoron has fascinated me since my childhood. The morphology of the word alone – “oxy”: perceptive/”moros”: stupid – I’ve always found satisfying, magical and reassuring, just as some find the word “Om”. It was probably the opposite and contradictory that was constantly reflected in reality and yet could then be expressed in a fine literary way. The words or terms puzzled together to form an oxymoron, as a unit, possess an attraction that accurately sums up the inexpressible and extreme from life. And if single words, terms, even one or more sentences can form an oxymoron, then why not a piano concerto, which is created in the 21st century and by this fact alone could almost declare its existence as an oxymoron.

The oxymoron is mainly associated with literary texts, but in everyday use there are countless expressions that are considered oxymorons and that we use as a matter of course. Idioms are just something we don’t think about too much and one usually reaches for them unconsciously, just like certain sounds, melodies and musical gestures that are so strongly established in our subconscious that sometimes they can only crawl out onto the surface as an „earworm“.

The extended, experimental sounds of contemporary music are alienated from ordinary notions of sound and, together with the earworms, can create a grotesque effect. For me, the fundamental search for the creation of one or more oxymorons in composition began with these thoughts and will certainly continue to occupy me well beyond the piano concerto.

A personal fascination with anything beyond the ordinary and contrary to traditional manners resulted in a need for the word “orgy.” In ancient Greek religion, an orgy was an ecstatic form of worship and aimed to break down the barriers between the revelers and the deity through a state of mystical exaltation. The participation of women in orgies, which in some cases was also exclusive to women, sometimes led to prurient speculation and attempts to suppress the rites. While the oppression of women still takes place in various forms and contexts on a daily basis in our so modern, advanced society of the 21st century, constellations arise in which one is allowed to enjoy an almost utopian freedom as a human being and artist, such as a commission for a new work for piano and orchestra. Exactly during such a process I have to think intensely about the grievances in our world and the feeling of helplessness to be able to fight them, but also about the simultaneous absurdity of my somewhat elitist occupation and the privilege to be allowed to comment musically on these grievances from a safe standpoint.

Composed for a pianist and conductor for whom I have the highest respect and admiration, this piece is an explosion of feelings of powerlessness, as well as fantasies of omnipotence, and it celebrates simple pleasure and pure love (whatever that is). At the same time it spits on this depraved, primitive and sick world that continues to exist like a majestic oxymoron monument and that actually needs time and rest for orgies.“ Margareta Ferek-Petric 2022

Photos © ORF musikprotokoll/Martin Gross