The writings of Jakob Br.


The writings of Jakob Br. was written for and premiered by SCHOLA HEIDELBERG & WALTER NUSSBAUM (conductor) in the Providenzkirche, Heidelberg (Germany) in July 2013.  The piece was commissioned as part of an ongoing project of commissions in association with the fascinating Prinzhorn Sammlung in Heidelberg (Germany).

There is a book/cd published by Wunderhorn Verlag - ungesehen und unerhört 2


Text: Jakob Br. from the Prinzhorn Sammlung, Heidelberg (Germany)




Duration: 7’30”


Instrumentation: SSATB

In the very first folder I opened in the archives of the Prinzhorn Sammlung in Heidelberg, I found pages and pages of Jakob Br’s notebooks and was immediately impressed by them. Jakob Br’s work can basically be divided into two categories – the page-long repetitions of similar-looking but indecipherable words and pages filled with patterns, often following a grid-like formation, with stripes and crosses but also sometimes with more organic shapes.

I was especially drawn to these pages of indecipherable could-be-words (which I would later call writings) and decided that I was going to attempt to decode them.

Two of the words I discovered were ‘lucere’ and ‘lumen’, both Latin and related to each other in their etymology. Lumen means light, opening and in Physics is used to mean a unit of light. Lucere means to shine.

In the piece itself I use these two words, both in their original forms and expanded (adding vowels) and contracted (using only fragments), as well as employing a range of vowel sounds, using various possible variations of e, u and w, that have no meaning in themselves. The writings of Jakob Br. plays with an almost visual interpretation of the handwriting and the copious number of lines and layers of words as well as embracing the reflective atmosphere of light, lucere.

© 2015-2017  Naomi Pinnock