The Ringing World
for percussion, piano, and double bass(2015)
|Commission||Commissioned by the Johnstone Fund for New Music for Columbus/NYC New Music Exchange|
|Premiere||February 24, 2016; Short North Stage, Columbus, OH; Bearthoven • Matt Evans, percussion; Karl Larson, piano; Pat Swoboda, double bass|
|Instrumentation||See preview page for full instrumentation and technical details.|
The Ringing World is in five short sections (I: long, II: short, III: long, IV: short, V: long) performed without interruption. Harmonically, it is in a new area of the world previously explored in my pieces The Tears, Lisa, and Humble Servant. Formally, it is symmetrically oriented, with each movement being at its heart a rhythmic palindrome, with layers of rhythmically loose material floating inbetween, forming melodies and tensions that are sometimes resolved, and sometimes left hanging. Each movement contains several transformations of previously heard materials, but in such a way that the surface remains basically unrippled, and the harmonic continuum intact.
The title is borrowed from the official journal of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers, The Ringing World. The plight of the ringers may be lost on the corpses and the newborn babies, but it points to the greater power of sound as made manifest by physical struggle or human suffering; each sound a small strike against the frictionless vanity of the financial and political hierarchies that make up the bulk of our inheritance and our reality.
More metaphorically, the double bass may stand in for the unknown, and piano and vibraphone two things become one, a union. On the other hand, the bass may be seen as representing the flesh, and the marriage of piano and vibraphone the bells that signal arrivals and departures from this world and the other, the unringing, world.
- Adrian Knight