Composition Award Winner 2021

short stories for ensemble (2021 premiere) - ~ 35'

"... beautiful as the chance meeting of a sewing machine and an umbrella on a dissecting table." (Lautréamont)

short stories is indebted to the aesthetics of surrealist film, especially the work of Luis Buñuel. The piece consists of a multitude of very different scenes - some purely instrumental, some with feed, occasionally purely electronic - which are arranged in a kind of dream logic and linked to each other with the help of editing and cross-fading techniques. Similar to film, the end result is only one of many possible arrangements of the same source material. In fact, the piece is modular, so that practically different formal sequences are possible. The scene is the elementary formal unit. However, musical storylines can extend over several scenes, where they branch out, cross and come together again. The length of the individual scenes varies considerably, ranging from a few seconds to several minutes. The form is meant to be comprehensible, but not predictable. Accordingly, the tonal-aesthetic material is deliberately chosen to be as heterogeneous as possible. The compositional techniques used range from precisely composed passages to graphic forms of notation and verbal playing instructions. I try to translate specific cinematic techniques such as editing, dissolves, long shots, close-ups, zooms, jump cuts, match cuts, etc. into music or to find musical equivalents. The connection between the scenes is loose and follows a purely associative logic. Certain sounds, motifs and figures appear again and again in different scenes, but in a different form or in a new context, so that their actual, original essence remains mysterious. The multitude of such motivic cross-references over a long period of time gives the work a rhizomatic structure that puts the listener's memory to the test and blurs the line between compositional intention and hallucination. (Christoph Ressi)


Christof Ressi, an Austrian composer, arranger, media artist and software developer.
* 1989 in Villach; lives in Graz

He studied composition and music theory with Gerd Kühr, Dieter Ammann and Alexander Stankovski, jazz composition and arranging with Ed Partyka and computer music with Marko Ciciliani. His artistic work spans various genres such as new music, jazz, experimental electronics and media art. He produces music, sound design and video for theatre and dance productions and arranges music for all kinds of ensembles and instruments, including big band and orchestra. His music has been performed in many countries worldwide and his computer music work has been presented at international conferences such as NIME or Linux Audio Conference. He has an intense collaboration with clarinettist Szilard Benes. As the Ressi/Benes duo, they perform both audiovisual compositions and improvisations. In 2019, they were invited to New York for a two-week residency (MISE-EN_PLACE Bushwick). Since 2020, they have been funded by New Austrian Sound of Music, a programme of the Austrian Foreign Ministry for international concert activities. As a software developer, Ressi helps with the technical implementation of artistic projects and regularly contributes to open source projects such as Pure Data and Supercollider. He publishes his own software under open source licences. He has received several awards for his artistic work, including the Andrzej Dobrowolksi Composition Scholarship of the Province of Styria (2017) and the SKE Publicity Prize (2018). In 2020, he was one of the two winners of the 8th International Johann Joseph Fux Opera Composition Competition.