for prepared piano and ensemble(2016)
|Commission||Commissioned by LA Philharmonic National Composer’s Intensive|
|Premiere||October 1, 2016; Walt Disney Concert Hall, CA; wildUp • Christopher Roundtree, conductor|
(crotales, vibraphone, suspended cymbal, sizzle cymbal, slap stick, glass wind chimes, many assorted coins, large mason jar, large can or metallic bowl, 5 flower pots, ranging in size from medium-large to very small. bass drum, knitting needle, bow)
I wrote Una Corda while I was teaching at the Walden School, a summer program for young composers in Dublin, New Hampshire. I wrote this piece mostly in an early morning haze of sleepiness and tranquility, before beginning a busy, cacophonous day of teaching. Earlier that summer, I’d written a piece, uni sono, for mixed quartet, that took Luciano Berio’s idea of an orchestrated unison or single line as its premise. Berio’s Linea and Points on a Curve to Find are some examples of this. In Points on a Curve to Find, for piano and ensemble, Berio actually wrote the entire piano part first and then orchestrated it, which is what I decided to do too in Una Corda. The result is a piece that feels very simple and focused for me — essentially a descending tetrachord (four scalar notes) in the piano that is sustained by the ensemble, with some microtonal deviations. Later, that same tetrachord rises again and becomes embellished in a short outburst of energy.
– Katherine Balch