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a process, delicate and violent : for alto flute

by Vincent Giles (2017)

Work Overview

When I was attempting to title this piece, I was connecting with some friends I had not seen in quite a long while - quite strong connections - and was consequently struck by nostalgia. Nostalgia is a feeling that is quite irregular for me, as I tend to think it a pointless emotion. Nonetheless I wanted to try and capture, in the title, some aspect of non- romantic love (though it could equally apply to romantic love) that reflected a sense of nostalgia. The closest I could get was what it came to be, and the source of that is the section of writing by Adrienne Rich. I like this particular portion of the writing (and the text as a whole is very good) because it also relates to complexity; inherently things are complex, and often complexity can be overwhelming or scary yet inherent complexity is something that I find inspiring. The emergent complexities of sound from the indeterminate (at performance) gestures in this piece are a good example of that. In designing the piece, Eric mentioned his interest in the slowly moving nature of Morton Feldman's work, which was an interesting thing for me to consider. I wanted to try and balance and contrast the slow with the fast, or the delicate with the violent. The idea of these two (complimentary?) opposites reminded me of the structure of a Shakespearian sonnet, and so the indeterminate and the determinate are juxtaposed constantly throughout in constantly shifting temporal spaces. The interaction of all the underlying processes give rise to an immensely complex, unfolding structure, but sounds which are both delicate and violent.

My thanks to Matthew Mack, a mathematician colleague who helped me figure out a way of distributing the durations of time. Matthew's simple suggestion then inspired me to use white noise as the distribution mechanism, which adds some very fascinating structures.

Work Details

Year: 2017

Instrumentation: Alto flute (requires a timer of some descript).

Duration: 9 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Advanced notation, instability/indeterminacy, tablature notation, impossibilities

Dedication note: Dedicated to Liam Melaluka

Commission note: Commissioned by Eric Lamb.

First performance: by Eric Lamb — 6 Dec 17. Splendor Amsterdam, Nieuwe Uilenburgerstraat 116, 1011 LX, Amsterdam


Performances of this work

6 Dec 17: Splendor Amsterdam, Nieuwe Uilenburgerstraat 116, 1011 LX, Amsterdam. Featuring Eric Lamb.

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