Really pleased to be able to announce that violinist Emma Lloyd will be premiering my piece bet denagel at 7:30pm on Tuesday 17th September in St. Cecilia’s Hall (Cowgate), Edinburgh. The piece was written for and in collaboration with Emma and is scored for solo Baroque violin, complete with gut strings and Baroque bow.
We worked on the piece between January and April this year, which was really great fun. Emma brought her own cards to the table in the form of a wish to explore facets indeterminacy in Baroque violin performance practice, something I must confess I probably would not have embraced without her enthusiasm!
The piece embraces indeterminacy in two different ways. Firstly, the score is in a kind of open form. It’s constructed from a kind of matrix of interlinked sectional modules which works a bit like the London Underground map. The performer is free to travel through the score, from module-to-module, section-to-section, in any way they wish providing their movements are possible within the ‘rules’ of the matrix: so you might, for example, be able to move directly from A to B, or directly from A to C but not directly from B to C. It’s easier to see then to describe, so do take a look at the score via the above link. Due to the form of the piece, in reality it’s printed on A0 paper (yup, eight times the size of A3 - that’s 1189 x 841mm!) maybe it’s something to peruse on the screen rather than trying to print!
The second indeterminate thread is a little more subtle. The piece makes performance demands that cause the instrument, in executing the music as printed on the page, to create little sonic 'glitches’ - involuntary cracks and squeaks that blur and alter the music as printed on the page. To achieve this, the gut strings are first retuned to an extremely slackened scordatura (retuning) - to the point where pitch-stability is absolutely questionable - the player is then prompted into unusually extreme/fluctuating performance directions (lateral bow position, bow pressure - even bow material). There is a thus a wild disassociation between the music as heard and how it 'looks’ on the page. Which is probably a good reason to go hear it live rather than read about it here!
That said, for those for whom reading is an unavoidable addiction, Emma and I recently wrote a paper about the piece, which can be downloaded by following this following link (as with the previous paper listed on my site, below, the formatting demanded by the conference organisers is not entirely to my taste - I hope it’s not too much of a hinderance to your reading pleasures!) Enjoy!
Hope to see some of you in Edinburgh. Do please go along if you can - Emma is an incredibly committed performer and the piece - well - I’m quite pleased with the piece as well!