Tres Decals (2014) consists of an ascending melody over which layers of ornamentation take place. Both the melody and the ornamentation respond to a series of permutational strategies that remain mostly untransformed over the span of the work. Despite the fact that the piece came to be as the layering of rather detached technical moves, my associations as I write this program note point towards the autobiographical: as I finished the piece, I was two weeks away from becoming a father for the first time, my former office literally turned into a nursery decorated with…decals. As a consequence, I tend to map many features of Tres Decals with tropes of infancy: the plain melody with the lullaby, the superimposition of pulses with the music-box, and the pervasive bits of major scales with the pitch material of, for instance, crib mobiles. In other words, Tres Decals is built with what, I imagine, are the sonic "day’s residues” in the dream of an infant.

After L'Addio / Felt  is a two movement piece composed in collaboration with harpist Ben Melsky. The premiere of this work took place in a recital in which a performance of Sciarrino's Addio a Trachis preceded.  After... features varying levels of referentiality and filiation with Addio, from literal quoting to variation, to more esoteric and personal connections. Generally speaking, After is a frantic and highly tactile piece in which different levels of friction between hands and strings become syntactically relevant. Felt appears as the textural opposite of After in that the contact between performer and instrument is reduced considerably: the right hand plays with a felt pick for the entirety of the movement and the left hand features, for the most part, harmonics. Click here for more information and a recording of the complete work.

 

On Love is a peculiar take on the radio soap-opera genre. It is in three movements and features two distinct superimposed layers: music and text. The music layer, performed by the instruments and the soprano, constitutes an idiosyncratic re-imagination of William Byrd’s masses. The second layer (that remains "tacet" until the beginning of the second movement) is performed by the actors and could be described as "speech-music". The material employed to compose this second layer is every sentence in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet that features the word “love” plus fragments of two soliloquies: Juliet's in the balcony (act 2, scene 2) and Romeo's at the grave (act 5, scene 3). Click here for more information, a list of performing personnel, and a video of the complete work.

 

 

SCORES (click to view)

TRES DECALS

ON LOVE (2nd mov)

AFTER L'ADDIO

 

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