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The thin air between skins : for flute and cello

by Annie Hsieh (2015)

thin air between skins


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The thin air between skins : for flute and cello / Annie Hui-Hsin Hsieh.

Library shelf no. 785.4412/HSI 1 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

My composition interest of late focuses on the bodily communication between the performers engaged in an ensemble arrangement. Influenced by the Spinozan belief that the body is capable to be affected and modulated upon encounters with other bodies, I am keen to explore the scenario in which the inter/pre-personal interactions between the duo of musicians are exaggerated and reacted upon.

Seigworth and Greggs in The Affect Theory Reader refer to this intuitive, pre-personal articulation as shimmers that hovers between skins - the 'determinate organ of perception'. Such thought, if tracing back to that of Barthes' who calls shimmer as an 'exhaustingly nuanced space' whose meaning is 'subtly modified according to the angle of the subject's gaze', led to an impetus to write a piece addressing such description of the inter-personal relationship between the individuals.

The piece is predominantly based on the gesture of 'breathing', generated through the various playing techniques of the flute that required different intensities of air pressure, as well as lengths of air. The cello then imitates the timbre and rhythm of these flute techniques through its own idiomatic way of playing, while provides the overall pitch contents for the work, through the utilisation of one particular multiphonics based on the IV string. The performers are instructed to sit back-to-back to each other, thus exploring the potentiality in the presence of microscopic fragments of emotions being expressed beyond the reliance in the exchanges of audible musical dialogues.

Work Details

Year: 2015

Instrumentation: Flute, cello.

Duration: 9 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — extended techniques

Commission note: Written for the 2015 Opera Barga Festival

First performance: by Séverine Ballon, Matteo Cesari — 26 Jun 15. Auditorium Fondazione Banca del Monte di Lucca, Italy

Performances of this work

3 Jul 2019: at Hush (Melbourne Recital Centre, Primrose Potter Salon). Featuring Rubiks Collective.

22 Apr 2018: at ELISION: KILN (Melba Hall). Featuring Elision Ensemble.

9 Sep 2017: at She Speaks: Voice of Home (National Gallery of Victoria - The Ian Potter Centre). Featuring Tamara Kohler, Gemma Tomlinson.

26 Jun 15: Auditorium Fondazione Banca del Monte di Lucca, Italy. Featuring Séverine Ballon, Matteo Cesari.

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