Bleed Throughbass clarinet, percussion, electric guitar, piano, cello, double bass (2001)
|Commission||Commissioned by the Bang on a Can People’s Commissioning Fund|
|Premiere||June 20, 2001; Merkin Hall, New York, NY; Bang on a Can All-Stars|
bleed through grew from material that I had generated over the previous year and a half that had not yet coalesced into a piece. During that time, I had been engaged in the process of deconstructing music into its most fundamental parameters to gain a deeper understanding of their inner workings, and my relationship to them as a composer. Although this search yielded some invaluable musical insights, it also led to a crisis– in delving into the microcosm so deeply, the macrocosm had slowly shifted out of focus. A reintegration of the elements that I had purposefully and violently taken apart was necessary, but the means were not evident in light of what I had learned. It took a major shift in my life (in this case, from California to Finland, where I was studying for a year) to find a solution to this problem and to bring my musical ideas into phase.
As my ideas began to unify, bleed through started to take shape. The piece is constructed almost entirely of different types of cyclical processes, with cycles and eddies that expand, contract, break, and most importantly, fold over upon themselves in perpetually varied recurrences. Once the material worked its way into a larger circular structure, it was transformed from its fragmentary state into an interdependent whole.
I chose the title bleed through as a metaphorical reference to a type of energy, and also a type of memory that inspired the structure of the piece. I wanted to write a piece that reflected the way in which experience is shaped by a complex, asymmetrical layering of past and present, universal and personal. As such, it is a vast network of interwoven veins through which consciousness flows. In another sense, within this multi-layered system, certain elements bleed through to the extent that their significance reshapes the whole. In this piece, certain musical elements do indeed bleed through, offering an interpretation of everything surrounding them as necessarily unique as individual experience.
bleed through was commissioned by the People’s Commissioning Fund at Bang on a Can.