The Squid's Ear Magazine

Lamb, Catherine: Curva Triangulus (Another Timbre)

Inspired by the geometric and illusory work of artist Bridget Riley, Catherine Lamb's "Curva Triangulus" borrows from Renaissance music that she "warps" by interjecting geometric musical figures, performed by the Proton Ensemble of Bern using traditional, new and historic instruments, all underpinned by the 16th century microtonal Vicentino arciorgano organ.

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Catherine Lamb-composer

Bettina Berger-flute, alto flute

Martin Bliggenstorfer-cor anglais, lupophone

Richard Haynes-clarinet dÕamore, bass clarinet

Elise Jacoberger-bassoon, contraforte

Vera Schnider-triple harp

Coco Schwarz-arciorgano

Maximilian Haft-violin

Jan-Filip Tupa-violoncello

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Label: Another Timbre
Catalog ID: at227
Squidco Product Code: 35040

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2024
Country: UK
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded at Cybele AV Studios, in Dusseldorf, Germany, Ingo Schmidt-Lucas.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

Notes from Catherine Lamb on Curva Triangulus

The title was inspired by some recent works of Bridget Riley's following an earlier thread -particularly from Tremor (1962), a plane of layered triangles warped by one directional sides of curved lines. I was interested in distinct and clear, contrapuntal points shaping the overall structure and their connected lines reverberating outwards - three points as triadic counterpoint, three points as harmonic extenders, and one line flowing freely from behind, adding curvatures to the air. I had just completed a series of pieces entitled Prisma Interius exploring the role of the basso continuo, via a custom digital filtering instrument of the live environment (a conceptual bridge between the focused harmonic space within the piece and the chaotic atmosphere surrounding it). I decided to extend this concept in Curva Triangulus with the role of the acoustic harp (Barberini triple harp) as a "free flowing agent" articulating / highlighting the progression of the clearer contrapuntal triadic material in the foreground. I was foraging somewhere between being a bad student of Zarlino (some fleeting moments of Marc Sabat's Gioseffo Zarlino actually seem to appear...) as well as some kind of precursor to Rameau's sounding body epiphany. I was imagining a late Renaissance position of musical perception, being warped by Riley's triangles and shapes in multi-dimensional space.

I returned to the piece in winter 2020/21 with Ensemble Proton to re-examine their unique orchestration potentiality, such as incorporating Richard Haynes's clarinet d'amore and contrasting more distinctly between Elise Jacoberger's bassoon and contraforte. Vera Schnider (the harpist) and I examined more closely how to allow for her continuo role to blossom further, freeing it into a more intuitive, spiraling agent.

The biggest change was adding a part for Coco Schwarz on the historical Vincentino arciorgano organ, recreated and researched closely by both Johannes Walter and Johannes Keller. The instrumentation was already complex with the intermixing of various double reeds, winds, and strings - so I imagined how the organ could function as a kind of gentle, transparent glue to give more harmonic integrity. Its basis is to extend, smear, and bend those triangular shapes from within, as opposed to the role of the external and slightly romanticised, spiraling triple harp.

The harmonic space was configured numerically rather than alphabetically (like all of my work from the past 20 years), with consideration of distinct vibrancies when certain numbers intermingle and spectrally align. Curva Triangulus is an ever-fluctuating modal space -shifting between Tertial (3 prime qualitative), Quintal (5 prime qualitative), and Septimal (7 prime qualitative). Fundamental and branching nodes waver within each elongated, unfolding phrase.

The piece fits into a conglomerate of works where I have been exploring the various functional roles of each musician in moment form, always with the intention towards the total unity of the ensemble and what might emerge particularly from that unification in space. Elemental concepts around melody and harmony are reconsidered, blurred. One generates the other rather than being separate entities. The musician roles shift between being active generators and passive harmonisers, always in relation to one another. In the revised version, these roles are more evenly distributed amongst the ensemble, which adds more diversity in timbre and intentionality.

"Ensemble Proton normally consists of four woodwind and four stringed instruments, an octet with a clear symmetry and yet unfathomable versatility. In Curva Triangulus this duality is skewed by the omission of a piano and the integration of the arciorgano, a bellow-driven wind organ, whose sound supports the entire score. A triple harp - one of the many harps at the disposal of harpist Vera Schnider - accompanies, punctuates and links whole sections of the work. Alongside the ethereal, omnipresent string sounds of violin and violoncello, the quartet of woodwinds is augmented by auxiliary instruments - alto flute, cor anglais, lupophone, clarinet d'amore, bass clarinet and contraforte - entering darkly rich, sonorous terrain."-Richard Haynes, Ensemble Proton, April 2024

"Proton, Literally...

A proton is a positively charged particle and an essential component of all atoms. Ensemble Proton Bern is a positively charged collective of musicians and an essential component of the contemporary classical music scene.

The number of protons in an atom determine its chemical element. The eight musicians of Ensemble Proton Bern come together to create new elements in every work that they play and explore their musical properties. The city of Bern plays host to this laboratory and on the banks of the Aare River, the ensemble performs as Ensemble in Residence at the Dampfzentrale Bern four to six times per season.

Ensemble Proton Bern performs by invitation at international festivals or at the request of international presenters. Highlights of recent years include a three-week tour of the USA West Coast, festivals in Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, France, Germany, Ukraine as well as performances at St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Concert Hall or live at Radio Belgrade's Studio 6 in Serbia.

In Switzerland, performances at Gare du Nord Basel, Fonderie Kugler Geneva, Walcheturm Zurich, in Lucerne, Lausanne and collaborations with Ensemble Contrechamps, Ensemble Vortex and Basel Vokalsolisten are testimony to the importance of the collective. Ensemble Proton Bern has recorded music for CD release on labels such as Musiques Suisses and Kairos.

Artist Biographies

"Following interacting points within expanding harmonic space, Catherine Lamb has devoted her structural work to the inner life of tonality, constantly searching through the limits of human perceptions and resonances in overlaying atmospheres.

Lamb's continued series Prisma Interius (2016-ongoing), made with her partner and frequent collaborator Bryan Eubanks, filters the outside environment into a harmonic field, basso continuo, tanpura, or bridge between the musical form and the perceptual listening space. Her first orchestral work, Portions Transparent/Opaque (2014), was premiered by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra at the 2014 Tectonics Festival in Glasgow, Scotland. After an extended tour of her solo work Shade/Gradient (2012) through North America in 2012, Lamb received a travel grant from the Henry Cowell Foundation, allowing her to pursue work with Eliane Radigue and to form new relationships with European musicians.Earlier in her career, Lamb studied under composers James Tenney and Michael Pisaro at the California Institute of the Arts, where she also met director and dhrupadi Mani Kaul. It was during this time that she began diving deeply into her own practice of what she later termed "the interaction of tone."

Lamb is the co-founder of Singing by Numbers (2009-11), an experimental vocal ensemble formed with Laura Steenberge that focused on pedagogical research around pure ratio tuning. She has written for ensembles such as Ensemble Dedalus, Konzert Minimal, the London Contemporary Orchestra, NeoN, Plus/Minus, and Yarn/Wire. Lamb is involved in ongoing research with Marc Sabat on intonation; with Johnny Chang on Viola Torros; develops work regularly with musicians such as Rebecca Lane, Dafne Vincente-Sandova, and Frank Reinecke; as well as taking part in Triangulum with Julia Holter and Laura Steenberge.

Lamb is the recipient of a fellowship from Akademie Schloss Solitude (2016); an Emerging Composers Grant from the Wallace Alexander Gerbode and William and Flora Hewlett Foundations (2008-09); and was a Staubach Fellow at the International Summer Course for New Music in Darmstadt, Germany (2016). Lamb's writings and recordings have been published by another timbre, Black Pollen Press, Kunst Musik, NEOS, THE OPEN SPACE Magazine, Q-O2, sacred realism, and winds measure recordings.She received a B.M. from California Institute of the Arts, and an M.F.A. in music/sound from Bard College."

-Foundation for Contemporary Arts (

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"Bettina Berger was born in 1981 in Basel. She studied flute in Zurich and Berlin with Marianna Stucki, Annette von Stackelberg and Philippe Racine. Further studies saw her attend the Conservatory of Music and Performing Arts in Frankfurt (contemporary music) and the University of the Arts Berne (music theatre). She was a scholarship holder of the Ensemble Modern Academy and the Swiss Study Foundation. Bettina is co-founder of Ensemble Interface and performs as guest with Ensemble Modern, Klangforum Wien and Ictus Ensemble (Brussels).

As a chamber musician and soloist, she has performed at festivals such as Ultraschall Berlin, Lucerne Festival, ZKM Karlsruhe, Klangwerktage Hamburg, CDMS Madrid, Experimental Festival Tokyo and Tongyeong Festival Korea. She has given workshops at the Conservatory of Music and Performing Arts in Frankfurt, Mozarteum Vienna and the Sydney Conservatory of Music."

-Ensemble Proton (

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"Martin Bliggenstorfer was born in 1982 in Zurich. He studied in Berne with Matthias Arter and in Amsterdam with Ernest Rombout. He is now dedicated to the performance of contemporary music. Alongside the oboe, oboe d'amore and the cor anglais, he also plays musette (piccolo oboe) and notably the lupophone, a new type of bass oboe developed by instrument makers Wolf.

In fact Bliggenstorfer was the very first lupophonist worldwide and formed a duo with Elise Jacoberger for lupophone and contraforte (contrabassoon). He is a regular guest musician with Collegium Novum Zurich, the Basel Sinfonietta, the Basel Chamber Orchestra as well as the Chamber Orchestra of Zurich. In 2010 he co-founded the Ensemble Proton Bern of which he is Managing Director. Martin Bliggenstorfer appears internationally as a soloist and chamber musician."

-Ensemble Proton (

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"Richard Elliot Haynes

• Performances of repertoire from the 16th to 21st centuries all over the world in a multitude of contexts whilst being based in Bern, Switzerland

• Solo debut aged 17 with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra performing the Clarinet Concerto by John Veale

• Concerto performances with the Berner Symphonieorchester, Camerata Ataremac, Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Proton, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Philharmonic Orchestra Vorpommern, Queensland Symphony Orchestra and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra

• First Prize winner of Australia's Young Performer of the Year and the Australian Art Music Award for Performance of the Year

• First Prize winner of the International Concours Nicati Switzerland and the Eduard Tschumi Music Prize

• Appearances at many of the major Australian, American and European festivals for classical and contemporary music, including the international arts festivals of Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, Holland Festival, Budapest, Paris and Warsaw Autumn Festivals, MaerzMusik Berlin, Archipel Geneva, Vienna Modern, the Festspiele of Berlin and Salzburg and New York's Lincoln Center Festival

• Further orchestral engagements with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Hagen Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Zurich, Queensland and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, the Radio Symphony Orchestras of the SWR (Stuttgart) and WDR (Cologne), RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra as principal, section and solo clarinettist

• Regular international concert activity as a clarinettist with Basel Sinfonietta, Blattwerk Quintett, Collegium Novum Zurich, Elision Ensemble, Ensemble Garage, Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Musikfabrik, Ensemble Phoenix, Ensemble Proton, Ensemble Resonanz, Klangforum Wien, Manufaktur für Aktuelle Musik, Praesenz, Stroma and 175 East

• Dedicatee of new solo works for clarinet by Samuel Andreyev, Trevor Bača, Richard Barrett, Jean-Pascal Chaigne, Robert Dahm, Chris Dench, Walter Feldmann, Füsun Köksal, Liza Lim, Timothy McCormack, Michael Norris, Enno Poppe, Nemanja Radivojević, Dominique Schafer and Jeroen Speak

• Residencies at UC Berkeley, Canterbury, Griffith, Harvard, Huddersfield, Melbourne, Stanford and Sydney Universities as well as CALarts, New Zealand School of Music and the Hochschule für Musik Stuttgart with solo recitals, composer-performer collaborations, lectures, clarinet and chamber music coaching"

-Richard Haynes Website (

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"Elise Jacoberger was born in 1982 in Guebwiller. She studied bassoon at the Basle Conservatory and with Pascal Gallois at the University of Arts in Zurich, where she became specialised in the interpretation of contemporary music. Elise performs regularly in various orchestral and chamber music formations in France, Germany and Switzerland including Ensemble Intercontemporain, Ensemble musikFabrik, Basel Sinfonietta and Ensemble Proton Bern.

She has performed at many festivals including MaerzMusik, Ultraschall, Venice Biennale, Darmstadt Summer and the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. Elise has premiered many works for bassoon; this list includes compositions by Harrison Birtwistle, Arthur Kampela, Olga Neuwirth and Marc Sabat."

-Ensemble Proton (

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"Vera Schnider was born in 1986 in Lucerne. She studied harp at the Lucerne Conservatory of Music with Xenia Schindler and in Detmold with Godelieve Schrama. The focus of her energies lies in contemporary music. She is a founding member of Ensemble Proton Bern as well as alumnus of the international Ensemble academies run by Ensemble Modern and Ensemble Boswil. In collaboration with composers such as Kaaja Saariaho, Vladimir Tarnopolski, Beat Furrer and Heinz Holliger, Vera deepened her knowledge of and experience in new music.

She has appeared as soloist at KKL and the Lucerne Festival. She performs regularly with the Chamber Orchestra of Zurich and the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra. Vera has been involved in many CD-recordings, among them, as soloist with the Basler Madrigalisten for Guildmusic and a Beat Furrer portrait CD for Musiques Suisses."

-Ensemble Proton (

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"Coco Schwarz was born in 1983 in Baden. They studied in Berne, Lausanne and Brussels with Tomasz Herbut, Brigitte Meyer and Aleksandar Madzar and has since won many competitions, among them, the European Mendelssohn Competition and the Prix Suisse of the Suisa Foundation. Furthermore, Schwarz holds the title of "Young Steinway Artist".

In 2009 Coco Schwarz co-founded the Arte Animi pianoduo, in 2010 Ensemble Proton Bern as well as in 2011 the performance-collective Fluoressenz. Schwarz gives concerts on the modern grand piano, fortepiano, harpsichord and the clavichord and maintains a performing knowledge of a number of electronic keyboard instruments. As a sound artist, pianist or performer they has appeared at New York's Carnegie Hall, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Mariinsky Hall in St. Petersburg, Tonhalle Zurich and Kulturcasino in Berne."

-Ensemble Proton (

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"Belgian-American violinist, Maximilian Haft resides in Geneva, Switzerland and has lived on the European continent since 2009. A multifaceted musician performing a wide array of repertoire, Max specializes in contemporary solo, chamber, ensemble music and free improvisation. He has performed on major stages and intimate venues across Europe, North America, South America, and the Middle East in formal concert setting, theatrical contexts and spatial installations.

As a soloist, Max has performed and premiered contemporary violin concertos with the Northern Netherlands Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Contrechamps, the Geneva Chamber Orchestra (l'OCG), the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra, Collegium Novum Zurich, and the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra. He has recorded for Mode Records, Kairos, Klarthe, Wergo, Col Legno, Edition RZ, Fyo, Megadisc, Centaur, Neu Records, and Musique Suisse labels as a soloist, chamber or ensemble musician.

Max has held the position of 1st violin solo with Ensemble Contrechamps since 2015 and is a founding member of Ensemble Proton Bern, two new music institutions based in Switzerland. Max has also been a regular guest performer with Musik Fabrik, Asko-Schoenberg Ensemble, Ensemble Klang, E-Mex Ensemble, the Callithumpian Consort and was a former member of Ensemble Garage in Cologne. As an orchestral musician, Max has been a guest concertmaster with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and has worked with the Bern Camerata, the United Strings of Europe, the Metropole Orchestra, and was a former 1st violinist of the New Utrecht Philharmonie. He has premiered solo and chamber works by such composers as Samuel Andreyev, Michael Jarrell, Dominique Schafer, and has worked closely with Heinz Holliger, Oliver Knussen, Hans Zender, Beat Furrer, and Michael Gordon. He has appeared at such festivals as Donaueschingen, Eclat, Acht Brücken, Warsaw Autumn, Archipel, Pori Jazz, Orvieto Winter Jazz, Edinburgh World Festival, The Lucerne Festival, Re-musik, and the Festival for New American Music in Sacramento.

Beyond the classical and contemporary music world, Max has performed and collaborated with a diverse cast of jazz, electronic, pop, and folk musicians including Marc Ribot, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Roscoe Mitchell, Eef van Breen, Matmos, Colin Self, Tesla, White Hinterland, Anais Mitchell and Sam Amidon. He was a founding member of the New York based band Cuddle Magic. In 2021, Max transcribed and premiered the first live performance of Tony Conrad's 4 Violins. He continues to develop his own electro-acoustic compositions using collected field recordings and string drones.

Currently a doctoral candidate at University of Leiden's artistic research program, Max's research revolves around the organology of the Stroh violin. The subject of his PhD dissertation is entitled: The Strings of a Horn: demystifying the past and provoking the future of the Stroh Violin. He has taken part in performance residencies at Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley, University of California, Davis, The University of Texas, Austin, and The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, and has been a guest lecturer at La Manufacture in Lausanne, the Conservatory of Geneva (HEM) and the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. He is currently an invited professor for contemporary violin performance and chamber music at the Conservatory of Geneva.

Max studied at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music pre-college division with Zaven Melikian and Wei He. He has a Bachelor's in Violin Performance from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston where he studied with Masuko Ushioda†. He graduated with a Master's degree cum laude from the Royal Conservatory of The Hague having studied with Vera Beths. During his Master's studies, Max was a finalist in De Link Prijs (2011) and in the Storioni Chamber Music Competition, as well as a recipient of the HSP Huygens Scholarship (2010).

Max plays on a violin made by Andranik Gaybarian and a bow from Randy Steenburgen. He is a native of Sacramento California where he returns during the summer to teach chamber music to young aspiring musicians of his former youth symphony and as a performer with the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music Orchestra in Santa Cruz."

-Maximilian Haft Website (

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"Jan-Filip Ťupa is passionate about contemporary music and about cello playing. He studied with Raphael Wallfisch at Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London and with Ensemble Modern, Frankfurt. Critical interpretation and free avant garde improvisation form the two key aspects of his current work."

-Jan-Filip Tupa Website (

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