19 October 2020
Erik Griswold: 'Wringing out an old cloth' (Peggy Glanville-Hicks Commission)
Erik Griswold's Peggy Glanville-Hicks Commission was inspired by a quote by Peggy Glanville-Hicks herself, and the domesticity of an artist's existence under the pandemic. Find out more about all 13 Glanville-Hicks Commissions, initiated by the AMC in response to the challenges caused by the COVID-19 epidemic.
Erik Griswold writes:
In an Australian Broadcasting Corporation interview from 1986 - 'Home Truths' - Peggy Glanville-Hicks said:
'Anyway, I think that most of that 19th century (like Beethoven's 9th) is just like a piece of cloth - you've wrung out the last drip and can throw it away - let's get going on.'
I've long been struck by this disarming interview, and this metaphor resonated strongly for me.
In 2020, the COVID-19 situation brought all things domestic into extreme focus. In various stages of lockdown, we found ourselves tracing and retracing patterns as we navigated through our homes. The notions of 'home truth' and the piece of cloth intersected with my daily routines of cleaning and trying to find meaning in a radically transformed environment.
I started by enacting Glanville-Hicks's suggestion literally, wringing an old cloth into my kitchen sink. I created a miniature installation of metal and plastic cups of varying sizes, each with subtly different pitches and tones. When slowed down, the dribs and drabs produced a stochastic melody. Listening to this quasi-random melody, I prepared my antique piano, 'tuning it up' to match the sounds of the water drips.
Many thanks to the Australian Music Centre for giving me the opportunity to create this work as part of the Peggy Glanville-Hicks commissions.
Griswold is a composer and pianist working in contemporary classical, improvised, and experimental forms. His particular interests include prepared piano, percussion, environmental music, and music of Sichuan province. Originally from San Diego, and now residing in Brisbane, he composes for adventurous musicians, performs as a soloist and in Clocked Out, and collaborates with musicians, artists, dancers, and poets. Griswold's latest album, Wallpaper Music IV, will be released on Room40 on 13 November.
During 2020, many of his activities have moved online, onto the Clocked Out YouTube channel. These projects include:
• 84 Pianos - Pandemic Edition, a live online performance featuring pianists around Australia and the globe.
• The Boundary Riders Commissions - new works by six innovative independent Queensland musicians.
• Lonely Hearts Pandemic Band, a collaboration of Mexican percussionist Evaristo Aguilar and Clocked Out.
© Australian Music Centre (2020) — Permission must be obtained from the AMC if you wish to reproduce this article either online or in print.
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