1. If you could be an active composer in any other time period, when and why?
I am absolutely in love with classical music that came out of the first half of the 20th century (1900-1950's), and would have loved to be apart of that collage of different aesthetics.
I'm a cat person.
3. Would you rather…sing everything you say or dance all of your movements?
I guess I would rather sing everything I say, but mostly out of sarcasm to be as annoying as possible.
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?
Last Christmas by Wham!.....
5. Who are 3 composers from the past -AND- 3 of your own generation whose music you respect, enjoy, inspires you, etc…
Past: Olivier Messiaen, Sergei Prokofiev, Steve Reich
Present: Andy Akiho, Caroline Shaw, Steve Weimer
Music for Empty Spaces for clarinet, violin, cello, piano
I: the wind blows, the floor creaks
II: spider webs lay across his chair
III: ghosts light candles in the den
IV: displaced memories play on the walls
The moments that I enjoy in this piece are those when the entire ensemble is playing. Unfortunately those are few and far between the solos for each instrument in each movement. I get it. It is music for empty spaces so not much should happen, right? Well…I think the image is more interesting than the sonic result. It is also difficult to sustain listeners with the first three movements being slow. The harmonic material. when the entire ensemble does sound together, is very nice.,
I know there are only four instruments here but, I have an idea for solos that I would like to share. I can’t remember if it is an idea I had while listening to a lecture/masterclass by Kaija Saariaho or if it was her idea altogether. I wrote it down in my notebook from that masterclass but didn’t assign ownership. Either way...
Solos can be timbrally accented by the other instruments in the ensemble. Instead of one instrument playing a melody, you have three instruments combining to play the melody (not klangfarben). One main instrument and two accenting instruments that keep the texture alive and keep the music moving. In this piece, when the solo moments happen in the first three movements, whatever motion there was stops. Adding little harmonics or rhythmic interest in the strings while the clarinet is playing or vice versa would, in my opinion, make these solos so much more interesting and give them color.
The titles of each movement are so evocative but, sonically, the piece doesn’t quite evoke those images. Perhaps edgier writing with respect of the timbral aspect of the instruments would give the piece the color it needs.
Knocking on Wood (2014) for percussion ensemble
Certainly influenced by the 70/80’s minimalists but, going a little further in rhythmic interest. But, I dig this piece for several reasons.
1. It is mobile. So many percussion ensemble pieces require the players to empty the cabinets and take FOREVER to setup, tear down, and move. As a former percussionist (and Tyler is as well) I know this all too well. All the players need is a piece of wood and a woodblock which is nice for traveling and means that this piece can live in any venue and thus Tyler’s music can reach far more people in live situations.
2. Its short. For the minimal treat I would usually say that its not long enough. But, with such a limited timbral palette, it gets to the point, has some fun, and gets out of there. Which brings me to my third point.
3. Its fun. Its fast. It is percussionists hitting things. Because of the hocket-like accents it is visually stimulating. And it grooves. And percussionists want that IF it is this style of music. It is also an attractive piece to players because of the above points AND because it works great in outreach or educational situations. And to be able to teach and inspire young audiences about music and create future musicians, not all of our music can be written for the specialist listener.