Stillness in Disrepair
Series of works for amplified chamber music ensembles
for cello+piano, 2017, premiered by Duo Demi
for four musicians playing one piano, 2018, premiered by Yarn/Wire
for cello+piano+bass clarinet, 2018, premiered by Clara Védèche, Fiore Favaro, Julie Dufossez
for three instruments capable of playing pitch and noise, 2019, premiered by Glass Farm Ensemble
Stillness in Disrepair is an elusive collection of textural fragments which occur in the uttermost degree of stillness — in ever new combinations as chosen by an algorithm in the very moment. If this work is about creating fragile states of disrepair, it is as much about the underlying human affordances that lead to the very disrepair, for the performers are crucially constrained in their playing. Their instruments are being reduced to only few highly specified timbral qualities which are solely achievable with an extreme amount of precision, hence, such a radical constraint along with them listening to in-ear announcements and metronomes — an act that detaches each musician from the others — will ultimately and necessarily lead to an unspoken sociality: several bodies interacting in a fragile network, constantly negotiating their roles. The constant dynamic range of “quadruple piano” — yet another constraint — is amplified via close-up microphones that act as sonic “zoom.” The audience is thus immersed in the inner grain of the social resonant body of this piece.
Special thanks for supporting this fragile endeavor go to all participating musicians, but also to Kiri Miller and Lu Wang at Brown University, and to Brian House who inspired me to write this work.