This past year I was commissioned by Ben Roidl-Ward and Tim Daniels, fantastic bassoonist and oboist, respectively, to create a piece for oboe, bassoon, percussion and live electronics. After many rewrites I ended up with a short, five section piece that includes a variety of textures and instrumental roles.
The first movement begins with chaos: each of the performers quickly playing improvised notes covering their entire range while the electronics sample and randomly repeat segments of this texture. Over a minute, the range of the notes is collapsed to the middle and the notes get longer (with the percussion “lengthening” notes through trills).
The next movement begins in unison, with long tones in the middle range accented by the percussion. The notes speed up and the percussion starts filling in the space within and in between the notes, leading to the third section, a percussion solo that reiterates and develops some of the gestures heard previously in the piece.
The percussion solo loses steam and leads to a repeated ostinato pattern. The winds enter on improvised, soloistic material over the percussion ostinato, which is developed and ornamented. Finally, the winds reach the peak and trough of their ranges, respectively, and the percussion is cued to play a final, highly ornamented gesture.
The last section opens with a loop in the percussion, to which is added a loop in the oboe, and then one in bassoon. The loops are harmonically ambiguous and of different lengths. The loops circulate for around 20 seconds and are then abruptly cut off, ending the work.