In addition to his extensive musical expertise, Bernd Alois Zimmermann was also extremely knowledgeable in other fields, above all in philosophy and literature. The composer had devoted himself intensely to the concept of time within the area of philosophy: he became famous for his concept of the “sphericality of time”. In his work Présence, apparently disparate elements are pulled together in an all-embracing simultaneity. The three instrumentalists are assigned literary figures who can all be considered as constants in Zimmermann’s œuvre: Ubu Roi (piano), a voracious grotesquely caricatured tyrant from Alfred Jarry’s absurd play, Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quijote (violin) and Molly Bloom (cello) from James Joyce’s ground-breaking novel Ulysses. The instrumentalists are accompanied by a silent (!) “speaker” who hisses so-called “word emblems” from Paul Poertner’s volume of poems Wurzelwerk between the movements. The word emblem for Scene 3 incorporating musical quotations from Prokofiev’s Piano Sonata Op. 83 and Stockhausen’s Zeitmaße is: “Alle Wahrvögel nisten in einem einzigen Baum” [All true birds nest in a single tree].