sound composition

Cantus Apium – 7 Variations about Vergil, for Voice and 15 bee-colonies

Sound composition by Götz Naleppa

Recordings and composition: Götz Naleppa, 2013

Duration: 40:12”

Text: Publius Vergilius Maro („Vergil“), quotations from “Georgica”, IVth book, German by Joh. Heinrich Voß

Thanks to the bee-keeper Christian Matthey, Westerwaldkreis


Red thread of this composition is the famous text of Latin poet Virgilius (70 − 19 BC) about the bees from his "Georgica". Material are recordings from 15 bee-colonies, from morning 7 clock until noon on a sunny May day in a rural region in Germany. The concept: text citations (Latin and German) with non-manipulated bee sounds, chronologically throughout the day: from early morning (few and isolated ), later the lower frequencies when the drone fly, until noon (many and violent). Main parts of the composition are seven musical variations of "Bee Songs" - that worked mainly with extreme filtering of the sounds, to make audible the "music", the song of the bees. ALL you hear is generated from bee sounds, included the rhythm elements.

The main theme and the challenge was "chaos and structure": I've been trying to find in the chaos of thousands of simultaneous sounds structures - by filtering out frequencies, discovering rhythmic elements, in order to make patterns and "beauty" audible. The whole piece has thus become one big crescendo - accordingly to the crescendo of bee colonies from morning to noon : the beginning quiet and "idyllic" in the sense of Vergilius and then very slowly increasing up to the "war dances" of the bees. The piece ends in contemporary times, an allusion to the worldwide threat of dying bees, killed by our civilization - which is a threat for all of us.(Götz Naleppa)


GOLD AWARD at New York Festivals 2014:

Soundfile 1 (excerpt, mp3-file, 5:10 min, 8,7 MB)

Soundfile 2 (excerpt, mp3-file, 1:30 min, 2,5 MB)

Text-quotations (pdf-file, 64 KB)


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