Katherine Balch drip music, (2019, arr. 2021)* * world premiere Commissioned by Concert Artists Guild with support from the Adele and John Gray Endowment Fund.
Rebecca Saunders Skin, 2015-16* * US premiere with Juliet Fraser, soprano
James Baker, conductor
Isabel Lepanto Gleicher, flute
Michelle Farah, oboe
Rane Moore, clarinet
Erin Rogers, saxophone
Nicolee Kuester, horn
Sam Jones, trumpet
Stephen Gosling, piano
Steven Beck, piano
William Schimmel, accordion
Matthew Gold, percussion
Clara Warnaar, percussion
Nuiko Wadden, harp
Karen Kim, violin
Leah Asher, violin
Hannah Levinson, viola
Christopher Gross, cello
Mosa Tsay, cello
Greg Chudzik, bass
Yaron Deutsch, electric guitar
Juliet Fraser, soprano
Daniel Neumann, electronics
Victoria Cheah, production
Concert duration: approximately one hour
Mary Flagler Cary Hall DiMenna Center for Classical Music 450 W 37th Street New York, NY 10018
Portrait IO is music about the interaction of everyday sounds (played by an obbligato sampler) with a large instrumental ensemble, in a relationship of both imitation and commentary. The work is a kind of sonic self-portrait that uses recordings from my daily routine, physical surroundings, my cultural background, and sounds that trigger past memories. This personal library of samples ranges from quiet and intimate elements (such as a scribbling pencil on paper) to loud and public experiences (crowd noise, traffic, rehearsal with musicians, etc.). All the sounds are structured and organized through techniques of variegated repetition, and a simple logic of ‘input/ output’: breathing in/out, indoors/outdoors, open/ close, private/public, and question/answer.
Katherine Balch drip music (2019, arr. 2021)
Drip music begins very quietly. From delicate, nearly inaudible drizzles of sound, splashes (heavy droplets) take over and begin to dance. This piece is about drawing attention to and then amplifying very tiny sounds and is a celebratory exploration of the intimacies and intricacies of the string quartet. Here, Talea performs the world premiere of this arrangement of drip music for flute, clarinet, saxophone, harp, accordion, violin, viola, cello, and double bass.
Rebecca Saunders Skin (2015-16)
skin/Skin/ n.: a taut flexible continuous outer covering or layering of the body or thing; a film like a skin on the surface of a liquid or solid; the skin of a flayed animal with or without the hair.
n.: the delicate membrane separating the body and its environment implies the phenomenon of touch, one of the five external senses, through which the subsidiary sensory modalities of temperature, pain and vibration are partly perceived.
touch, n.: somatosensory tactility, or mechanoreception: a neural perception generally in the skin, but also in the tongue, throat, and mucosa. Receptors respond to variations in speed and pressure (firm, brushing, sustained, etc.).
skin /Skin/ v. to skin, to peel back the surface of; to shed an animal of its skin. Under one’s skin: so deeply penetrative as to irritate, stimulate, provoke thought, or otherwise excite; under the skin: beneath apparent or surface differences, at heart.
Skin as a metaphor for transience—the continuous process of shedding dead skin and the growing of new. . . .
Struck by a recording of an early production of Samuel Beckett’s television play Ghost Trio (written 1975, first broadcast 1977), this text, spoken by the narrator in Act 1, was the catalyst for this piece:
. . . this is the room’s essence
now look closer
dust is the skin of a room
history is a skin
the older it gets the more impressions are left on its
look again . . .
The main text in Skin is my own, which gradually materialized during the long compositional process and was partly inspired by the extensive collaborative sessions with Juliet Fraser. A section from James Joyce’s Ulysses, from the final passage of Molly Bloom’s monologue, is quoted towards the end.