Here’s a recording of the premiere performance of Follows from Hummingbird for 3 or more sustaining instruments. The performers are Hillary Tidman, flute; Brad Whitfield, clarinet; and Laura Usiskin, cello.
I’m so happy with this first performance; the musicians nailed it. My scores often require a period of workshopping—work that reaches beyond typical rehearsal activity to include comparing alternate realizations, discussing timing, and lots of listening—so premiere performances can be risky. These performers, however, really embraced the spirit of the piece and pulled it off with elegance and aplomb.
The work is based on Hummingbirds (1997) a group of small Oil paintings on linen by the artist Enrique Martínez Celaya.
Everyone Looks to the Sky
No one but me would know that the computer is responding to my playing differently than anticipated. Such is the fun of interactive computer music: you just have to work with it, ride with it, fight it, respond to the moment, change your plans. In this case, the conception of the piece is already so circumscribed that the content of the work is hardly changed, though the form is clearly different–and maybe more dramatic as a result.
A recent binge of Indonesian music led me to dust off this piece. I never felt I had worked out the sax part enough when the piece was new, which might account for why I shelved it. Revisiting the piece, I discovered very few indications of what I had intended for the sax part–little more than a scribbled microtonal scale. There’s clearly still work to do here, but I’m less bothered than I might have been in the past by the elliptical playing.
This has become one of my go-to banjo pieces; a surefire way to find my place on the instrument.
A brand-new piece getting its first public airing. I learn so much by performing new material and can’t wait to revise this tune as a result. Yet another song with bird imagery (YASWBI).
The cFCFAb tuning is one I came to after trying a more standard minor (fCFAbC) or sawmill (cFCFG) tuning. I use a Pythagorean temperament based on F which doesn’t change the tuning of the C’s and F’s very much, but makes the Ab significantly flatter than an equal-tempered Ab.
The whooshing, windy sound throughout (heard prominently during the intro) is generated by walking on a pair of foot pedals, almost the way you would pump an old pump organ. (You can see this motion in the video.)
While recording, I kept missing the foot pedals and accidentally stepping on a mic stand instead. I decided to embrace the resulting bass drum thumps and include them in the piece.