I have some awesome friends, and many of those friends happen to be fantastic musicians! A few of my friends recently formed a new contemporary music ensemble called Sound Hive. They will be performing a couple of shows in Texas, both in Austin and in Houston, spotlighting music by Houston composers. There will be music by Jack Benson, Chad Robinson, Josh Vinci, and myself. I feel like a hog, because I have two pieces on the program: Turbine and a new arrangement of Hammerballet. The new arrangement was an awesome exercise to expand the timbral palette of the piece, as it was originally for violin, viola, and piano. Here, I’ve incorporated the entire Sound Hive instrumentation: flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, french horn, violin, viola, and cello. I’m quite excited to hear this new version. The idea of rearranging older works is still new to me, but has given me fresh looks at what I consider to be my own voice.
The members of Duo Scordatura have joined forces with Sound Hive (which is who will be performing the violin/viola seats!). This will be the 4th and 5th time (I think?) that Turbine will be performed by Duo Scordatura, and I’m honored everytime!
Sound Hive in Austin, TX:
June 13, 2014; 7:30pm at Blackerby Violin Shop
$ 5 students/$10 adults
1111 W. Anderson Lane, Austin, TX 78757
Sound Hive in Houston, TX:
June 14, 2014; 7:30pm at 14 Pews
advance tickets at eventbrite from $15
door price $10 students/$20 adults; cash only
800 Aurora Street, Houston, TX 77009
It is funny that both of my pieces being performed were the result of collaboration or commission by Scordatura, as I am in the middle of writing a third piece for them, coincidentally for the same instrumentation as the original Hammerballet. The piece is being composed for a commission project based around tributes. The subject for my particular tribute is none other than Hildegard von Bingen. The work so far focuses on her stylistic features (wide ascending intervals followed be descending stepwise motion, wide range, and fluid vocal writing) and the blurry lines between consciousness and unconsciousness. The latter is somewhat based on Hildegard’s mystical visions that she reported having since childhood. In paintings and animations, these visions are often depicted as streams of fire. I’ve interpreted these streams to mean something closer to streams of consciousness that one might try to ward off while going into a meditative state. Or, more closely, these streams might be the streams of thoughts and ideas that come to one’s mind during the moments he or she falls asleep. I had a somewhat humorous daydream one evening where I was a a dinner party, and who else should appear but none other than Hildegard herself! She enters, we dance, we joke, and she leaves. Before we dance, however, I greet her with a line from her own Ordo Virtutum, “Angelic comrade, how comely you are in the royal nuptials!” It is the short antiphon that this line is set that I am looking to quote in my piece.
As the piece gets more solidified, I will divulge more details.