Tuesday, November 30, 2021

New Tablature Construct. New Work for Vibraphone

"Modernismo". For Flute & Piano


For Flute & Piano


Bil Smith Composer

A Commission From DHL

Published by LNM Editions, 2017

(Laboratorie New Music)

A creative artistic movement that took shape in the 1880s in Spanish America, Modernismo has traditionally been identified with efforts to reinvigorate innovative literature and music through the pursuit of formal perfection and innovation. It was, however, more than an aesthetic undertaking. Modernismo offered a complex response to the profound social and cultural shifts that accompanied the arrival of modernity in Spanish America. 

Its influence extended to both sides of the Atlantic, largely because of the artistic genius of the peripatetic Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío (1867– 1916), who selected its name and, by example and decree, came to define the movement. He established connections with the most celebrated European and American composers and writers of the day and, by 1896, as the sole survivor of the movement’s founding members, became its creative center of gravity. 

While the influence of Modernismo lasted well into the 20th Century, its closing date is generally held to coincide with Darío’s death in 1916.

"Negative Capability" For Tristan Holtz-Trompete

"Negative Capability"

An Intermediate Play for Tristan Wood Holtz-Trompete"

Bil Smith Composer


Published by LNM Editions, 2017

(Laboratorie New Music)

In an 1817 letter to his brother and sister-in-law, the British romantic poet John Keats coined the term “Negative Capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reason”.

Keats begins by defining the quality broadly as that which informs “a Man of Achievement” but also specifies it as an urgent principle.

A single letter is the only remaining record of Keats’s use of the term, but the concept deeply informs the poet’s thought and poetic works.   In a letter of 1818, for instance, Keats’s definition of the “poetical Character” as having “no character” appears consistent with the protean mobility of mind that the quality of negative capability entails: the ability not to insist on a conclusion or decision that would eliminate alternate possibilities.

Unlike the “wordsworthian or egotistical sublime” that “stands alone,” the poetical character “has no self— it is everything and nothing— It has no character— it enjoys light and shade; it lives in gusto, be it foul or fair, high or low, rich or poor, mean or elevated— It has as much delight in conceiving an Iago as an Imogen.” 

As an aesthetic principle, negative capability becomes visible in the blurring of the line between subject and object in “Ode to Psyche” and “Ode to a Nightingale” and in the absence altogether of the pronoun “I” in “To Autumn.” 

Negative capability enables, moreover, the pursuit of the twin concepts of beauty and truth. “[ W] ith a great poet,” Keats writes, “the sense of Beauty overcomes every other consideration, or rather obliterates all consideration.” Keats criticizes his friend’s inability to arrive at a truth as stemming from a lack of negative capability: this friend, Charles Dilke, “cannot feel he has a personal identity unless he has made up his Mind about every thing. 

The only means of strengthening one’s intellect is to make up one's mind about nothing— to let the mind be a thoroughfare for all thoughts. Not a select party.” While the self-containment of individual “identity” limits the imaginative capacity, negative capability embraces the values of uncertainty and doubt that open the mind to multiple possibilities, thereby expanding the imagination so as better to approximate beauty and truth.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

"Faulty Tires" for Two Sopranos


RECORDING: "The Bare Lathes Intertwined with Creeper and Wire-Moss" Bil Smith Composer

"The Bare Lathes Intertwined with Creeper and Wire-Moss" 

2013 Commission from Pemex (Petróleos Mexicanos) for Chamber Orchestra, a work predicated on 'Compositional Bounding Theory', a theory about the locality of movement. 


"The Bare Lathes Intertwined with Creeper and Wire-Moss" Bil Smith Composer

The main principle of Bounding Theory is the Subjacency condition, which forbids movement across more than one bounding node (i.e. tablature).

For Chamber Orchestra; Coloratura Soprano (Obstruent Phonology); Soubrette (Siblancy: Fricative speech sounds with high frequency); Spinto Soprano (Strict Cyclicity); IGT Wild Cherry Spinning Wheel Slot; IGT 2x3x4x5x Red Hot 7s™ Spinning Reel Slot; IGT Hot Roll® Ca$h Ca$h Ca$h™ Video Slots; IGT Megabucks® Crystal Sevens® Slot; WMS Dashing Dolphins Slot; Wicks Century 5 Pipe Organ; Paiste 24' Venus Gong; Waldorf Blofeld Synthesizer;  Hellfire Modulator, an analog, tube-based distortion rack-module; Formanta Polivoks Synthesizer; ESP jeune fille X Gips -Cross Ray- Moi dix Mois MANA Signature Model Electric Guitar.

Instrumental reasoning can be explained — either in terms of it being constitutive of the very notion of having an end, or solely in terms of instrumental considerations. 

Improvisation, perspectivisation and elementary birthing…

While projective values need not be intrinsically reveration(truest), need not actually votivate us, they would determine what we ought to pursue(o) and protect (o). 

They would provide reasons for actions. Kobjective values would come in Szen_degrees, and more objective value would provide st(ST)ronger reasons. 

It follows that, if objective value exists, we ought to maximize it in the world. 

But virtually no one acts with that goal in mind. 

Furthermore, objective value would exist independently of our subjective valuing. 

But we have no way of measuring amounts of such values independently of the ways we value objects. 

While a subjectivist can account for mistaken values, a fully impersonal viewpoint, from which objective values would appear, seems instead to cause all values to disappear. 

Nor does the moral point of view, which requires more impartiality than agents usually exhibit, reveal fully objective values.

"The trajectory of music should be avoided in the philosophy of science, with special reference to the way that van Fraassen sets up the difference between compositional realism and constructive empiricism. What counts as success in music as such is emblematic/unsatisfactory."

----Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. 

When garbage falls away… then

'Vandal Daddy' for Cello. Bil Smith Composer

"A Marshaling (Marshalling) of Legendary Doves and Herbs" For Viola and Bass

"A Marshaling (Marshalling) of Legendary Doves and Herbs"

For Viola and Bass

Bil Smith Composer

Published by LNM Editions, 2017

(Laboratorie New Music)

Sunday, November 14, 2021

"Certain of These Balloonists" for Tuba

"Certain of These Balloonists" 

for Tuba

Bil Smith Composer


Published by LNM Editions

In terms of starting a new composition, an important fact for me is that it’s not genre-specific. It doesn’t reflect back to a particular genre. And that’s what’s engaging to me about it, it’s a very speculative assumption: that one can think about producing a musical score, and making meaning, at the same time understanding that there’s no absolute and stable benchmark to rely on for the stable production of that meaning.

Saturday, November 13, 2021

"Quadrantaria" for Harp, Cello, English Horn and Tuba. The Score

Quadrantaria (substrate transparency) Score Excerpt

"Quadrantaria" for Harp, Cello, English Horn and Tuba. Bil Smith Composer, 2013. 

World Premiere: Rooftop Terrace, 144 Duane Street, New York, NY. 

August 11, 2013. Underwritten and Commissioned by Interpublic Group and The Emilie Thorne Trust.

Quadrantaria Score Detail

Quadrantaria Score Detail

Quadrantaria Score Detail

"Tales" for Soprano Voice (2021). Bil Smith Composer


"Personico Antiqua" For Percussion Ensemble and Live Electronics.

"Personico Antiqua" 
For Percussion Ensemble and Live Electronics. 
Bil Smith Composer (2009)
This performance occurred on May 10, 2013 at the Norton Museum, West Palm Beach, Florida
On Soundcloud:

"Posh Hitter" for Piano

"Posh Hitter" 

for Piano

Bil Smith Composer


A Commission from SKF Group

"Triumphant Fantasy". The Score For Echo Cornet

Echo Cornet