Compositions

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Saturday
Sep012012

Wildlife

Wildlife
for Zeta electronic violin,
Radio Drum,
and two computers

Duration: 24'
1991

Instrumentation: Boie/Mathews Radio Drum, Zeta violin, NeXT and macintosh computers

"Wildlife" (co-composed with Andrew Schloss) is an interactive work for two performers, a violinist and a percussionist, performing on new instruments, augmented by two computers. The malleable nature of the Zeta Violin and Mathews/Boie Radio Drum allows the barriers that normally separate performers to be broken down, challenging the inviolability of the control a performer normally exerts over his instrument. For example, the violinist's glissandi can change the pitch of the notes played by the percussionist. Alternatively, the pitches performed by the percussionist can be completely determined by the violinist. Furthermore, the two performers interact with the computers in a flexible, symbiotic manner.

Click here to purchase Wildlife on iTunes

This duo explores new means of ensemble interaction; it consists of a gestural intercourse between four participants, two biological and two synthetic. Each participant has the capability of direct manipulation of the others. This is employed sometimes in the spirit of cooperation, other times more like sabotage. The piece is in five movements, with each movement exploring a different ensemble relationship. The titles of the movements are as follows:

1. Sonata "Sacre"
2. The Most Religious
3. Reversed Orbits
4. Oracular and Prophetic
5. Edible Trance

The two computers used are a Macintosh IIci and a NeXT. The Macintosh computer receives serial data from the Radio Drum and MIDI data from the Zeta violin and does event processing, using software built by the composers with the MAX system. It then sends MIDI data to the NeXT computer, which does further event processing, algorithmic generation and DSP (digital signal processing) synthesis, as well as sending MIDI data to a Yamaha TG77 synthesizer. The NeXT computer is running software built by the composers using Ensemble and the NeXT Music Kit system. Note that no stored sequences or pre-recorded material of any kind are used. All sound is produced in response to physical and musical gestures of the performers. Although the music is worked out in great detail, the performers are given freedom to spontaneously alter its flow on micro and macro time scales.

This recording is a live performance at the Stanford University Centennial Concert in Frost Amphitheater on Sept. 27, 1991. This was a historic event for several reasons, not the least of which was the presence of Leon Theremin, who was approaching 100 years himself.


Video

"Wildlife," (first movement--"Sonata Sacre") by David A. Jaffe and Andrew Schloss