Sunday, February 18, 2024

"Breaking Ball" for Flute, Violin, Clarinet, Cello and Piano

At the heart of "Breaking Ball" lies my disciplined private choreography, a nuanced dialogue with the legacies of Merce Cunningham and John Cage. The piece does not merely reference these giants of modern composition and performance; it converses with them, extending their inquiries into the nature of performance and the essence of sound itself. The score, with its multi-directional notational system, serves as the medium of this conversation, challenging performers to navigate its complexities

Viewed up close, the score of "Breaking Ball" reveals a multi-directional amalgamation of notational elements, caught perpetually between emergence and disappearance. This liminal state, where notational marks seem poised on the edge of evaporation, embodies the ephemeral nature of performance itself. The piece, through its visual and musical language, models the ways in which asemic marks—those without specific semantic content—can carry meaning, becoming imbued with significance as they are woven into the fabric of the composition.

The serial application of new notational content, layering across staves and rows, poses a challenge to the integrity of the composition. Each addition, each mark made, risks obscuring what came before, threatening the coherence of the whole. Yet these are not reckless acts of spontaneity but isolated, irrevocable choices. Each decision, each mark on the page, is a deliberate step in the creation of a musical narrative that is as much about the notes themselves as it is about the space and silence that frame them.

Performing "Breaking Ball" is an act of high risk. It demands a level of engagement and interpretive skill from musicians that goes beyond the technical mastery of their instruments. The performers must delve into the score, deciphering its dense fields and navigating its competing striations to bring forth the music that dwells within. This process is not just about the recreation of sound but the realization of a vision, a collaborative act of creation that bridges the gap between composer and performer, score and sound.

The score of "Breaking Ball," with its intricate notational system and its demand for a deep, interpretive engagement, serves as a vivid reminder of the dynamic nature of musical creation. It stands as a chronicle of the compositional process, a mnemonic device that indexes the passage of time and the myriad decisions that shape the final work. In this way, the piece becomes more than just a musical composition; it is a meditation on the act of creation itself, a reflection on the distance between the original impulse and the final expression.

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