No 50 Shadings (2011)

For String Quartet & Sinewaves

Commissioned by: the Bozzini Quartet, with financial support from the Netherlands Fund for the Performing Arts
First Performance: Bozzini Quartet, November 12 2011, De Muzerij, Den Bosch
Instrumentation: String Quartet & Sinewaves
Duration: ca. 20’
Special Features: Performance requires sound engineer, stopwatch monitor on stage and amplification for all musicians.

Score samples

Info/Program note:
As is the case with many of my works, Shadings is written in three parts of exactly uniform length (6’ each, give or take a few seconds). Each part is subsequently filled with a different amount of information. In this way, the first concerns itself with upward motion, the second with downward motion and the third with the approaching of a central point from both sides. All three parts drop a notch in register.

Clear as this process may be, the sound world however seems to revolve entirely around an attempt to block out any direct sunlight. In many ways this ‘obscuring’ dictates the piece. Whether in a preference for harmonics over direct pitches, or in the form of chords sliding into one another slightly out of focus (pt. I), chords immediately sliding away from their source (pt. II), or in the form of sounds focusing on their own ‘aftertone’ while moving in and out of rhythmic unison (pt. III) – most of the attention in Shadings goes out to often very subtle gradations in the way sounds and tempo are approached.

In this way, the frequently veiled harmonies of the string quartet work as a kind of smokescreen, obscuring the source (the sinewaves) and its reflection (the string quartet).