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1. If you could be an active composer in any other time period, when and why?
Probably right at the transition from Baroque to Classical, let's say 1730. There is something in the quirky simplicity of J.C. Bach, Stamitz, Sammartini, and such that really appeals to me. I played a late Händel keyboard sonata with this really clunky (by today's standards) development section where you could really see G.F. working out this “new fangled style the kids are all writing in these days.” It might be sacrilege to say that I sometimes prefer J.C. Bach to J.S. but some days, there it is... But if I had a time machine, I would leave a copy of Berg's op. 1 and op. 3 on Beethoven's writing desk around 1815.
Dog. While I appreciate not having to walk my daughter's fish, I prefer the dog.
3. Would you rather…listen to only brutal metal or only Justin Beiber?
4. You’re trapped on an island. There is one electrical outlet connected to a boombox from 1992. When you were stranded here you only had time to save one cassette out of collection of singles. What is the one pop song you will listen to for the rest of your life?
Are there people that won't answer this question with Bohemian Rhapsody?
5. Who are 3 composers from the past -AND- 3 of your own generation whose music you respect, enjoy, inspires you, etc…
Past: Witold Lutolawski, Franz Schubert, Georg F. Händel
Current: Jürg Frey, David McIntire, Catherine Lamb
Dreams Grow Like Slow Ice (2013) for flute and electronics
I chose both of these pieces because I wanted to examine what a composer does when returning to nearly the same instrumentation - flute and electronics. In some ways, I feel like when I’ve explored an instrument, I rarely want to return to it quickly. But, these two pieces are only three years apart and that really intrigued me. And they are both on the theme of dreams! Even Jay doesn’t know what this means as he said in his program notes. So here we go…
This piece features flute with the glissando head joint. At first, the novelty of the instrument was just that; novelty. But as the piece went on, I think Jay’s use of this special feature got more and more interesting. The descending glissando on trilled notes was particularly effective for me. Calls to mind Jimi Hendrix doing the same with a whammy bar. The electronics are just as slinky as the flute itself, which gives the piece a nice cohesion.
All My Dreams are Silent (2010) for flute and optional electronics
2. in love with…
3. Kris Turns White
This piece was originally for ethnic flutes but we are listening to the concert version. Jay’s electronics are the draw for me in Spider. He writes beautifully for the instrument, but the tonal-esque melody opening isn’t really for me. That being said, he has a really nice sense of center when not specifically writing melodies. This might be an indication of why some of his pieces contain drones or very slowly moving harmonies.
in love with… has some really nice textures created from the combination of both elements. Really beautiful. Kris Turns Wite is awesome. The electronics are really nice and give the flute writing that much more tension and unease.
Question. Why “optional” electronics? I get that it opens up the possibility for performances in places without the equipment or for performers who don’t want to deal with the added hassle of wrangling speakers.
For me, the electronics add so much to each piece even though there is almost no synchronization. It gives an atmosphere that I don’t think the flute alone could achieve for me. They would be completely different pieces without the electronics.
Conclusions about writing pieces for the same instrumentation close together.
1. The fact that each was written for a different type of flute certainly informed the writing.
2. Even with similar themes on dreams, they managed to capture different aspects of the theme.
3. The electronics gave both pieces different types of energy.
I should not be afraid to try this out in the future if the opportunity presents itself. Thanks Jay.