SO I WANT TO WRITE A PIECE ABOUT JOHN CAGE (2010)

String quintet, prepared piano, percussion, live electronics and projections (25’). Commissioned by the Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation in the Library of Congress. Premiered by the ADORNO Ensemble.

In So I Want To…, a repeated strain of music is heard at the beginning of the piece—an amalgam of disparate aesthetics—one that is somehow both static and continuously permutating as each “ingredient” of the mixture is extracted over the course of the piece, gradually revealing each element’s identity as well as the way its unique characteristics influence the composite strain. Conceived as a form of sound installation, the separation of each musical entity from the whole occurs in relationship to its position in space, where the “source material” becomes more discernable the farther a musician moves away from the group. Eventually, five distinct pieces are performed simultaneously across the performance space, with the audience free to create new wholes from the interactions of these separate parts by moving freely between the players, making connections between disparate sound elements according to their position in the installation.

The conceit of this arrangement is also to somehow reverse the linearity of time, starting from a composite of various musical experiences (where my role as composer is most present in shaping the materials), and progressively moving backwards in time to before the piece was even written (where the source materials are in their unadulterated forms, as they existed before I [or Cage, for that matter] ever heard them.)

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