the brokenAphorisms series

The program:          

Musically, these works are simply miniature versions of Fracture pieces, although there are some structural differences that I'll discuss below. The primary distinction however is the shape of the final score, which I consider to be very much a part of the artwork. I was inspired by beautiful George Crumb scores—such as Black Angels and his Makrokosmos series (a Google image search brings up a few nice examples)—to create visually extravagant scores which mirror the music or are mirrored by the music. For example, a repeating cycle of pitches or an ostinato might be notated on a staff that is a literal circle, or a piece which is conceptually "about" quantum mechanics might have notation that emulates Feynman diagrams. Initially, and unlike many of Crumb's scores, I strove to create notation that could be read in a performance situation, but more recent pieces have strayed into fancier territory and probably require some amount of memorization or the use of a simplified performance score.

Just like their Fracture cousins, these pieces shift sharply between different genres or styles, and the different sections are even less related to one another (though other relationships exist, see below). Sometimes, already-composed musical material dictates the visual choices, but equally often it is an initial visual idea that gives rise to the music. For example, the nineteenth brokenAphorism—which is one aspect of the first movement of [Ar]4s121d1:}{:brokenAphorisms_19&20:}{:p/-\!1mps3$t ε—was first conceived visually as a Bohr Model of an atom, with three electrons orbiting a nucleus. I knew that I wanted to "represent" the electrons with a repeating cycle of pitches, and that I wanted each level to be more "energetic" than the one below. Eventually I came up with the idea of using a tone row with more forms and faster rhythms on each outer level. The overall shape of the movement emerged as I explored the various ways the performers could move around the image. It's so strange how such seemingly unrelated subjects can inspire creative ideas.

The structure:          

Pieces in this series:          

PortRait of the ArTist,**NYC2001
Solo Cello and Recorded Electronics
Summer '01

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