Wayward Country for alto saxophone and interactive electronics was written on commission from saxophonist Michael Ibrahim who provided the bass saxophone samples and, along with Justin Massey, the alto saxophone samples. The samples were extensively processed by various means, to provide accompanying material to the saxophone part which is simultaneously processed in real-time during the performance. Dr. Ibrahim is a virtuoso saxophonist with a comprehensive mastery of extended techniques, thus their extensive use in this piece. Special thanks to Justin Massey for additional saxophone samples
A Rift in Time for violin, cello, and computer playback was commissioned by the Cabrini Duo (Andrea Schultz, violin and Michael Finckel, cello) who premiered it in February, 2002. The electroacoustic accompaniment makes extensive use of violin and cello samples (which have been processed and re-synthesized) as well as purely electronic sounds. As I was completing the piece, the catastrophic events of September 11th took place - a tragedy that a New York Times editorial described as “one of those moments in which history splits, and we define the world as ‘before’ and ‘after.’”
Triptych, for flute and electro-acoustic accompaniment (2014), was commissioned by flutist Nina Assimakopoulos and is the result of an ongoing collaboration. The form is that of a typical triptych with the larger central section being the main focus and the outer two sections being of shorter duration and approximately equal in length to each other. Ms. Assimakopoulos requested inclusion of a number of “Eastern” influences including various gongs, bells, and anklets as well as extended flute techniques, esp. those characteristic of a shakuhachi. After I had completed most of the piece, Ms. Assimakopoulos wrote a text based in part on her reaction to the sounds of the electronics. Those sounds consist primarily of flute samples of her playing, and samples of three Tibetan prayer bowls, two tingsha bells, and two sets of Indian anklet bells – all processed in various ways. I subsequently modified the piece to more closely reflect the text and to include portions of the text. The three sections also involve a sequence of three related references: sounding of the temple bell, reverberation of an ancient bell, decay of an ancient bell; spring, summer, autumn; and maiden, mother, crone.
Tracer for piano and electroacoustic accompaniment, was commissioned by Mark George. It makes extensive use of digitally processed piano samples as well as purely synthesized sounds to provide expanded resonance of the harmonic fields implied by the piano’s lines and to expand the piano’s apparent acoustical sound space. At times, the roles are reversed as the piano supplies harmonic and/or gestural intensification of the electronics.
Category 5 (Echoes) for flute/alto flute/piccolo, violin, and computer was commissioned by, and written for, Francesca Arnone and Mikylah McTeer. The electroacoustic part is based on flute and violin samples that have been extensively processed on computer to augment the timbral and harmonic resources employed for the instrumentalists. Interval class 5 (a perfect fourth or perfect fifth) forms the basis of much of the melodic and harmonic materials. The piece also contains fragments from five past compositions for instruments with fixed playback.
Caterwaul Dreams – I have long been fascinated with the various instincts and behaviors of animals, especially those many of us keep as pets. It has always seemed to me that they have an innate ability to sense things that are beyond our conscious abilities. I have had pet cats for most of my adult life. Caterwaul Dreams is my attempt at an electro-acoustic representation of the sort of imagery that might take place in a cat’s mind while “sleeping”.
Licorice Stick Groove was commissioned by, and written for, clarinetist Esther Lamneck utilizing her exceptional improvisational ability both in the clarinet score and for the sample materials used and processed to create most of the sounds - including the percussive sounds - used for the electroacoustic accompaniment. The recording here is by virtuoso clarinetist Marianne Gythfeldt.
Convergences for harp and electro-acoustic accompaniment was written in 1994 on commission from the Massachusetts Music Teachers Association and harpist Jocelyn Chang. It subsequently advanced to win first prize from the Music Teachers National Association in 1995. Convergences was written for the Douglas Dilling model harp (though it can also be, and in fact most often is, performed on conventional pedal harp). This recording is by Julia Kay Jamieson, a former student of the late Jocelyn Chang, and is performed on the Douglas harp for which it was originally written.
Triptych – TEXTS
born from the sea
lunar water, blue
sounding of the temple bell
white orchid, jasmine, apricot
spring lanterns hang
fragrant and sweet
A song comes
carried in the wind
silver threads on veiled membranes
On the paper netting
spider eyes like willows, pulseless and thin
on the soft flowering grass.
the sound of the tingsha
clear and bright
apricot blossoms perfume the earth
Under canopies of cypress and pine
rituals of sacred oneness
terracotta temples, alabaster jars, henna crushed in stone
steaming flowers rise, green and gold
Around the alter
they dance, bells tied to their ankles
gold hems hitting the dust, flashing bangles, blazing hands and feet
invoking blessings, offerings made to fire
In the shadows of burgundy thickets
smoke from smoldering resins rises
balsamic, spicy, slightly-lemon
reverberation of an ancient bell.
blackened by sea water emptied from the clouds, bitten
burnt umber, red ochre, sap green
In the late heat
high grasses spill their seed, breasts gone dry
barren murals, postures of stillness
purple lanterns, brittle baskets
look how the rings fall off their fingers
blackened from the votives placed before them
painted red, threaded in gold
in the thick groves of the orchard, its scent lingers
decay of an ancient bell.
© Nina Assimakopoulos 2014
© RAVELLO RECORDS LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Ravello Records is the contemporary classical label imprint of audio production house PARMA Recordings. Dedicated to highlighting forward thinking composers and musicians from around the world, the New England-based label's eclectic catalog offers listeners a cross-section of today's up-and-coming innovators in orchestral, chamber, and experimental music.
223 Lafayette Road
North Hampton NH 03862
press (at) parmarecordings.com
603.758.1718 x 151