As in many chamber music works by Georges Aperghis, in Crosswind language comes into play. In the conversations of the performers, speaking in a gibberish invented by Aperghis, there are occasional sparks of speech that can be understood: the essence of music here is to be a foreign language..
At the time when Aperghis was writing Crosswind, he was interested in the writings of the behavioural researcher Conrad Lorenz, and based on that work he began closely studying animalistic behaviour among musicians. “This is no longer a question of similarity between human and animal behaviours (…) there are no longer any animals or human beings because they mutually deterritorialize each other in a continuum of intensity. It is a question of becoming which (…) is comprised of the greatest possible difference, the difference of identity, the crossing threshold (…).”
“What I tried to do in Crosswind is to present the territories of each individual. One has the impression of listening to a pack of animals and its victim, which is clearly the viola. One does not know for sure how this will end, but it is a kind of animalistic confrontation.” In the performance, the violist is encircled by the four saxophonists; this menacing situation becomes ever clearer. It is almost touching how the viola with the resolution of leading tones repeatedly runs away from the bold attacks—even if this seems to do the viola little good in the end.
Crosswind was premiered on April 15 1998, in the Wittener Täge für Neue Kammermusik, by Geneviève Strosser (vla), and ensemble Xasax.