Monday, November 30, 2020

"Everlest" for Pocket Flugelhorn. A Circos Tablature System.

"Everlest" for Pocket Flugelhorn

Beginning in 2012, composers at Laboratorie New Music have been working on modifications of the Circos program to create a systematic, fluid tablature system to facilitate compositional structure.  

The notion to explore this powerful visualization tool came about from a separate study we were conducting on the implications of 'Big Data' on outcomes relating to visualization and experimental musical tablatures.

The potential of big data is immense.  Eliminate constraints on the size, type, source and complexity of relevant data, and composers can ask bolder questions. Technology limitations that once required sampling or relied on assumptions to simplify high-density data sets have fallen to the march of technology. 

"Primary Cardinal" for Piano, G Trumpet and Clarinet in A

The Complete Score

"Primary Cardinal" 

for Piano, G Trumpet and Clarinet in A

Bil Smith Composer


Commissioned by Rosneft Oil Co OJSC, Moscow

World Premiere Moscow, February 2016

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Compactionist Composers


A Word on "Compaction Music"

Last year, I led a roundtable lecture on Laboratorie New Music composer’s reductionist pieces titled the “Compaction Series” .

With the compaction musics, each piece is typically under 20 seconds and are appropriations of existing works coupled with the composers original work compressed to varying degrees associated with strict rules and guidelines. (Compaction Music 7.4)

Generally the pieces, while titled, also include the precise time in each title (“A Flutter Pressure Drop” 7.90445802″).

With Compaction Music there is an invitation to listen with an awareness of the construction, an alertness in the background of the experience. Compactionist Composers are an exclusive challenge-society, a think-tank that seeks to generate pseudo-constraints; these constraints spur the private musical ambitions of its members, and subvert the aesthetic traditions of composition.

Some works of this group are front-loaded, with the constraint or device announced in tandem with the debut of the score—this allows the act of reading to be textured with an editorial or fact-checker’s spectatorship. In some Compactions, the constraint is not made explicit, which allows the act of performing to be infused with a cryptographic undercurrent, a puzzler’s inquiry.

The roundtable session conducted last year at The Lila Acheson Library at Juilliard highlighted the appropriation techniques and the relevance to Oulipian aesthetics employed in these works.

"Delta Yearning" for Eva Kingma Contrabass Flute (The Score)

"Delta Yearning"

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Madrigal Avalta Lucivity. (A Compaction Music) Bil Smith Composer, 2020. The Recording


"Madrigal Avalta Lucivity"

The Recording on SoundCloud:

On Compaction Music...

In philosophy, reduction (compaction music) is the process by which one object, property, concept, theory, etc., is shown to be explicable in terms of another, lower level, entity.

In particular, a concern of philosophy is as to the scope of physical theory, and whether, for example, all events are ultimately physical events, a discussion closely related to the topic of causal closure.In music, such reduction is generally desirable, because it explains why and how the work which is being reduced exists, and because it promotes conceptual and theoretical economy.

Reducing musical properties to properties of sonic particles thus explains these properties and integrates them into a single explanatory framework, that of aural structure.

Thus we might also describe reduction as a process analogous to compaction, by which one theory (or concept, or property, and so on) is wholly subsumed under another.

Compactionism can be divided into three general areas – methodological, theoretical, and ontological – and reduction (the process) into two – theoretical and ontological.

Methodological reductionism is the attempt to reduce explanations to the smallest possible entities. In science, methodological reductionism would result in the atomic explanation of a substance’s boiling point, and perhaps in an explanation based on even smaller particles (quarks, perhaps).

Theoretical reductionism is reductionism applied to hypothetical theories, the goal of reducing the present multiplicity of theories to a single super-theory through the process of theoretical reduction, the theory of everything.

Finally, ontological reductionism is the belief that reality is composed of a minimum number of kinds of entities or substances. This claim is usually metaphysical, and is most commonly a form of monism, in effect claiming that all objects, properties and events are reducible to a single substance. 
(A dualist who is an ontological reductionist would presumably believe that everything is reducible to one of two substances.)

Exordium to Sicut Cervis for String Quartet by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

WET Scores: Carnegie Hall Premiere of "Delinquent Spirit...". January 9, 2015. Nicolas Horvath, Piano. Bil Smith Composer:

Nicolas Horvath, Pianist with the score to “Delinquent Spirit of a Drowned City” 

Early this year, I was honored to be part of this amazing event which saw my composition, "Delinquent Spirit of a Drowned City", first performed in Paris by Nicolas Horvath, have it's US Debut at Carnegie Hall on January 9, 2015.

The program was unique : the world premiere by a single pianist of all the 20 Philip Glass Etudes, alongside with world premieres from composers such as Alvin Curran, Jaan Rääts, Régis Campo, Tom Sora, Michael Black, Eve Beglarian, and Lawrence Ball.

Nicolas is a brilliant pianist with a vision for programming that is rarely found.  His innovative performance on New Years Eve (December 31, 2014) in Kiev lasted for 22 hours and included all of the Glass Homages.  

“Delinquent Spirit of a Drowned City” for Solo Piano

Jhenna Marche
“Delinquent Spirit of a Drowned City” for Solo Piano

U.S. Premiere by Nicolas Horvath

January 9, 2015
Carnegie Hall
New York, NY

Produced by New York Artists Management
Jasna Popovic

Bil Smith Composer
Co-Conspirators:  Jhenna Marche, Siyang Gong

Carnegie Hall Concert Announcement

From The New Yorker...

"In December of 2012, a prodigious Monacan pianist named Nicolas Horvath gave a performance in Tokyo that lasted thirty-five hours. It was his eighth solo presentation of “Vexations.” “No food or drink for three days before the Vexations,” he explained to his fans in the comments section of his YouTube channel, where he posts six- and nine-hour segments of his marathon performances. Responding to a newcomer, he said, “28 hours is pretty nice indeed but alone it is very hard. Pain starts past 6 hours; Madness starts past 12 hours; Hell starts past 20 hours!”


The score: Four (4) independent pages, 27.5” X 17.5” on boards; three (3) transparencies, 17.5” X 3.35”, Performance Notes book, portfolio enclosure and oil on canvas 46” X 31” (integument).

This work is inspired by Philip Glass’ “The Light.”  Glass composed this work in 1987 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Michelson-Morley experiment, whose data, failed to demonstrate their hypothesis, but led to discoveries about special relativity and the speed of light; and ultimately, the impact on light and color.
Enclosure for Score


The compositional structure is based on W.V.O. Quine’s theories of holophrastic indeterminacy, or “…indeterminacy of musical performance translation.”  This is one of two kinds of indeterminacy of performance interpretation to appear in his writings. 

Colophon and Performance Notes

According to Quine, “There is more than one correct method of interpreting (translating) notations where the two interpreters differ not merely in the meanings attributed to the sub-sentential parts of sounds but also in the net import of the whole composition.”

It is holophrastic indeterminacy that underlies Quine’s argument against synonymy, the basis of his objections to Rudolf Carnap’s analytic/synthetic distinction.
The pianist is empowered, yet restricted by the presence of textual references and neologisms, inferred tablature (transparencies) and direct tablature (found on the far right side of the four (4) large pages of the score). 

The focus on combinatorial tablatures and tactical notational systems represent my interest in the efforts my musical allegory makes to affect change while grappling with the notion of radical—whether as a self-identification or a prescribed moniker, or both—and the mutations of disruption, authority, activism, and ethos that take place.  I am curious about the actuality of innate constructions determining one’s aesthetic and sociopsychic passion and sense of agency.

“Delinquent Spirit” is a platform for investigating intentionality and the rapport I have to documentary or archival forms—a fragile and volatile place for both the object and subject.  Authenticating experiences through new musical representations quickly impresses a contemporary psychological form of recognition. Within these mediated forms of cognition, music establishes a further expanded dimensional presence. Ultimately, it is challenging to understand this work as a completed form or even as a record—it is something that is permeable and flexible.

Biography:  Bil Smith, Composer

Bil Smith is a composer, instrumentalist and neologist.  His work has been programmed by leading contemporary music ensembles and his scores have been published and exhibited in art galleries throughout the world.

Bil’s compositions have been performed by specialist ensembles and soloists including members of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Moderne, The Düsseldorfer Symphoniker, St. Petersberg Philharmonic Orchestra, Kyushu Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. Schoenberg Ensemble Amsterdam, Ensemble Gelade, Qingdao Symphony Orchestra, Dresden Philharmonic, and Oslo Sinfonietta.

Early in his career as a jazz trumpeter, he performed with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, Anthony Braxton, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Gary Burton, Steve Lacy, Lester Bowie, Kevin Eubanks, Quincy Jones, Max Roach and Michael Gibbs. 

As a Neologist, Smith founded Addison Whitney, a consultancy dedicated to creating brand identities for global companies and organizations.  Deeply rooted in the etymology and linguistic foundations of words, Smith created a dynamic new system of word generation, which led to the creation of the brands Viagra (Pfizer), Outlook (Microsoft), Escalade (Cadillac), Xbox (Microsoft), Lexapro (Forest Labs), Element (Honda), Advair (GSK) and Access (Microsoft).  He has been responsible for the creation of more than 1100 brand names globally since 1991.

He identifies himself as an inter-disciplinarian composer, incorporating combinatorial techniques including neologisms, prose, painting, sculpture, drawing and combustion, as well as traditional elements of music composition to his work.

Nicolas Horvath, Piano.  Carnegie Hall.  January 9, 2015

Complete program : 

Philip GLASS : Etudes 1 to 10 

Jeroen van VEEN (hol) : Hommage for Philip Glass (USA premiere) Frédérick MARTIN (fr) : Glass in Mirror (USA premiere) Konstastin YASKOV (by) : Moonlight Sonata for Philip Glass (WP)Stéphane DELPLACE (fr) :Hommage à Glass (USA premiere) William SUSMAN (usa) : 1937 (USA premiere) Andre Vindu BANGAMBULA (cd) : Homage to P. Glass (WP)Eve BEGLARIAN (usa) : Enough Holes (WP)Tom SORA (de) : Glassplitter (WP)Tom CHIU (tw): laborets version 2.0 (USA premiere) Sergio CERVETTI (uy) : Intergalactic Tango (WP)Régis CAMPO (fr) : Smiley !(WP)Jaan RÄÄTS (ee) : (WP)


Bil SMITH (usa): Delinquent Spirit of a Drowned City (USA premiere) Paul WEHAGE (usa) : Early Morning:New York Skyline (USA premiere) Michael Vincent WALLER (usa) : Pasticcio per meno è più (WP)Alp DURMAZ (tr) : Bustling (WP)Gilad HOCHMAN (il) : Broken Glass (USA premiere) Ehsan SABOOHI (ira) : Where is the friend’s house? (USA premiere) Lawrence BALL (uk) : Glass Ball Game (WP)Paul A. EPSTEIN (usa) : Changes 6.1 (WP) Alvin CURRAN (usa) : The Glass Octave (WP)Michael BLAKE (za) : Shard (WP)Victoria Vita POLEVA (ukr) : NULL (USA premiere) Mamoru FUJIEDA (jp) : Gamelan Cherry (USA premiere) 

Philip GLASS : Etudes 11 to 20