Resonance Alloysolo percussion (2007)
|Commission||Commissioned by the Other Minds Festival|
|Premiere||March 8, 2008; Other Minds Festival, San Francisco, CA; David Shively, percussion|
Resonance Alloy was written for and dedicated to percussionist David Shively. It is directly inspired by James Tenney’s Having Never Written a Note for Percussion (1971) generally performed on tam-tam and Alvin Lucier’s Silver Streetcar for the Orchestra (1988) for amplified triangle. These two pieces awaken the listener to the timbral possibilities that exist in a single percussion instrument. Like these seminal works, Resonance Alloy seeks to create immensely complex and beautiful masses of sound through simple actions.
The piece is scored for three cymbals and a gong. By using closely related instruments, the sonic landscape of these vibrating metals is carefully expanded. Two of the cymbals are placed on top of drums; the drums act as resonators, enhancing details of the cymbals’ timbre. The instruments are arranged so that they can come in contact with each other in different combinations to create new clangorous hybrids.
Although the score controls the ordering of events and playing techniques, the performer controls the speed at which the piece progresses. Performances can vary greatly in length and in the types of sounds produced. Each is an invitation into the rich musical resonances possible within a seemingly constrained instrumental set-up.