"Scratching the Ice" 2010


2222 - 3220 - Perc - Timp - Str

The Work

In a few older RER stations in Paris, the train driver checks the platform to be sure no one is stuck in the doors by looking into a long mirror at the head of the train that reflects the platform back to him. If you ever have the good fortune to find a seat that gives you a view of one of these mirrors as the train pulls out of the station, and you look up into it at just the right time, you’ll see the frozen landscape left behind you. Where there were just hundreds of people, now no one. While all around you is motion, in the mirror, there is ice.

The Composer

Nissim Schaul is a Paris-based American composer with a penchant for unusual sonorities and ancient instruments. His music for period and modern instruments takes the flexibility of much Baroque notation as a point of departure.
The New York Times calls Nissim's music "spare and whispered, with a dissonant but compelling edge that keeps you fascinated." In October 2014, Nissim and the Baroque ensemble Flying Forms released the CD, New Music for Old Instruments, which says is “strange and genuinely engaging... I promise you’ve never heard a baroque violin and harpsichord sound quite like this.”