Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mirror Universes series

Mirror Universes is a series of duets I am composing. Each piece features vibraphone or multipercussion with a melodic instrument. I composed the first one, for viola and vibraphone, for a now-defunct duo named String Gone Deaf. The second one, for clarinet and multipercussion, was written for the Devil May Care duo. They performed it in Boston, New York, and Duluth, GA.

These are open-score pieces. Both players read the same score, which consists of 30-40 disconnected cells of music. The players each choose their own path through the music. Some cells are straight-forward (consisting of short melodic gestures), while some have special effects. In the cells with special effects, I tried to find similar effects in both instruments. For example, in MU1, the cells in which the viola plays pizzicato direct the vibraphone to play without pedal in order to get a very staccato sound. In MU2, clarinet trills are reflected by bongo rolls and gongs, with their inharmonic partials, are reflected by multiphonics in the clarinet.

Listen to DMC's performance below and you will get a better idea. You can also look at [the score] and try to deduce their paths.


(Performance in Duluth, GA).

The next entries in the series will be for trombone and vibraphone; saxophone and multipercussion; classical guitar and multipercussion; and finally vibraphone and multipercussion. DMC percussionist Caleb Herron and I are planning to record the whole series for release sometime next year. While I'm not sure that playing the entire set in concert would be particularly compelling (they all have a similar character - mezzo-piano throughout with brief bursts of activity), I think they will work as a home listening experience.

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