Sometimes there needs to be silence around art so that one can experience its directness. The works of Anton Webern have been represented sparingly – indeed, ever more sparingly – on concert platforms in recent decades after being regarded thirty or forty years ago as a great reference point for modern consciousness. Enno Poppe is a composer himself and as such sets out to re-read traditional works, especially those that made history without losing what was alienating (i.e. innovative) about them. This passage through Webern’s œuvre begins and ends with variations, with works over which the dispute about the composer’s aesthetic was carried out in typical fashion. This leads to Lieder, to choral works that seek to pour forth even when remaining concise: to the dense instrumental pieces that aspire to fulfil an aesthetic moment. What links these works and what divides them, what motivates the step from one to the next, is a matter of listening experience – comparable with the attitude of the flâneur, strolling through the (art) world with alert senses.
The second part is made up of a work intended to be experienced as a great continuum yet which was composed in the awareness that such a continuum, constantly moving forward and changing, requires discontinuity in order to be perceived and to have an effect. “Passage means to go through, everything is going through, truth can only be found by and in going through,” was the view of Mathias Spahlinger, who summarized both the piece and its title with a dual analogy: with the image of display windows in a shopping arcade (“Passage” in German) that one repeatedly walks past and with the image of a landscape through which one glides in spirals. For composers such as Enno Poppe passage/paysage represents one of the century’s masterpieces – comparable with Igor Stravinsky’s Sacre in its superseding what had gone before.