2005 / DISC TOTAL TIME 58.00

Composed, arranged and produced by Don Li

Ballet ll

Ballet Vlll

>> Video: New Ballet For Xala Extract

Ania Losinger, xala

Tonus String Quartet:
Katryn Hasler - Violin
Simon Heggendorn - Violin
David Schneebeli - Viola
Carlo Niederhauser - Cello


TONUS-MUSIC is a musical and compositional concept of reduction and repetition. Of interest are the elements of metric and the linking and the balancing of rhythmical structures in combination with musical asceticism and meditation. Until now, Don Li has written over 70 compositions (entitled: parts) under this constantly evolving concept, continuously numbered through since 1993. Compared to Japanese haikus and referred to as musical sculptures, these compositions create a solid whole whose parts can be combined in different ways. Just as in the 16th century, a scenic dance performance accompanied by music that was specifically composed for or chosen for this purpose would be called a ballet, the New Ballet For Xala features a suite-like program made up of seven TONUS-MUSIC parts that have been formulated for Xala. Because of the tonal restrictions of this instrument, Don Li concentrated on the quality of the rhythmic structure and a homogenous sounding orchestration. In this sense, the string quartet and computer sounds not only enhance Ania Losinger's playing poles and shoes, but, at the same time, accentuate the underlying acoustical elements that are produced by the wood and metal of the Xala.


Xala is the first floor-xylophone in the world. This unique instrument was created in 1998/99 by dancer and music performer Ania Losinger in cooperation with inventor and instrument designer Hamper von Niederhäusern. Composed of 24 chiming wooden and metal bars, with a total area of 4.5 square meters and a weight of 400 kilograms, this acoustic instrument is played using Flamenco shoes and 6ft.high staffs. While dancing the choreographed arrangement of the repetitive, rhythmical compositions, the body of the performer seems to become weightless. At the same time, the play between bodyweight and equilibrium on the vibrating sounds of the Xala creates a unique phrasing of the musical structure. The complex technical transformation of a simple idea, that of making music by dancing, is what brought the Xala into being. It builds a bridge between acoustic and visual expression, between archaic and modern sound, and opens up new spaces in the realm of artistic expression.