instrumentation: flute, bass clarinet, violin, double bass, vibraphone, piano
I’ve always been attracted to story-telling, and was always jealous of how novelists can approach the telling of a long tale, or of a world, by choosing the order in which they can reveal information. I have recently been reading Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, and the way he goes about telling the story fascinates me. I decided to explore how the personality of a narrator can be molded by the way she approaches the telling of a pre-existing story. In my case, I wrote a short piece which features a long build-up of energy and activity, culminating with a homo-rhythmic coming together of the ensemble. I then used this material as the basis for a new piece, one told by a verbose and somewhat disingenuous narrator: He begins telling the story from its ending, gives away important sections halfway through, and can’t help repeating himself, over and over again. I’m curious to see how much of the character of the narrator comes through in the way I chose to tell the story, but in order to make that more obvious, I anticipate writing different versions of this piece (ones that will bring out very different facets of the material), versions that will put forth a very different narrator. In a nutshell, I am interested in how the form of a piece can influence the expressive content being vehicled.
Lastly, I use drawings in the score in select portions of individual parts, as solos of sorts, where the performers are encouraged to interpret my scribbles however they see fit. In this manner, a certain degree of fluidity makes its way onto the surface of the piece, which makes two points: first, it allows the exploration of how much the surface of a piece can change without the piece’s identity changing as well, and secondly, it gives the performers much-needed agency and incentives to leave their own, un-subtle imprints on the piece’s manifestation. The drawing passages are therefore to be thought of less as sight-read spontaneous blurbs (which is how many people think of improvisation, sadly), and more as thought-through, carefully selected interpretations of the material by the performers.
Première by the Zafa Collective on December 17th 2016 in Lutkin Hall, Evanston, IL. Second performance by the Zafa Collective on December 18th 2016 in Ganz Hall, Chicago, IL. Third performance by the Zafa Collective on January 6th 2017 in Galvin Hall, Evanston, IL.