through the night, dark and drear
New, modular work for winds, percussion, and electronics
Originally commissioned by Dr. Anne McNamara for trumpet sextet, I am re-imaginging through the night, dark and drear as three distinct pieces which can be combined to form a number of unique performances for your ensemble.
If you are confused, I don't blame you! Let me explain below.
Artistic Rationale: Why?
Now, that said, electronics can do many things that wind players cannot (mainly, they don't need to breathe!) Adding in colorful touches and textures to support the wind players, especially in a work as dynamic and evocotive as Erlkonig, will greatly expand the creative depth and breadth.
But why three pieces?
My goal is that you as the conductor can assemble a piece from a pile of interchangeable blocks of music.
Will it be a traditional work for winds, from the view point of the father with hints of the nearly unheard darkness that lurks in the forest, or will the piece be a gnarly, warped, disturbed exploration of the supernatural? Or somewhere in between? It is up to you!
In Version 1, I will preserve the original dynamic of the sextet, keeping the narrative largely from the perspective of the parent (and therefore the Erlkonig's music is faded, muted, and filtered, merely perceived as whispers on the wind). This will be, by and large, a traditional transcription of the original trumpet sextet.
In Version 2, with the addition of electronics, I will shift that perspective away from the father towards the Erlkonig. The electronics will warp the ensemble sound, and move the piece closer towards a dark fantasy horror.
In Version 3, we move almost entirely to a narrative from the perspective of the Erlkonig, unfiltered by the confines of tonality and conventions of early-19th century German lieder. This music will be dark, mysterious, alurring, terrifying, and will possess an almost alien beauty. The original work will remain as an influence, but it will be warped, distorted, and pushed through the narrative filter of an impossible creature who is beyond our understanding.
Version 1: Traditional Acoustic Wind Ensemble
This version of the work is a traditionally orchestrated piece written for winds and percussion. Normal wind ensemble conventions will be followed (i.e., standard instrumentation, doublings, etc.)
Version 2: Wind Ensemble, Percussion, and Electronics
This version is a re-working of Version 1 to incorporate electronics. The electronics will be controlled with a custom app for Mac, PC, and iPad.
Version 3: Heavily Electronic, with Winds and Percussion
This takes us further into the electronic realm and leans heavily on ambience and the darker side of the story. Like Version 2, the electronics will be controlled via a custom app for Mac, PC, and iPad.