Neil Welch - January 13, 2013
Two compositions for 6 Instruments
Two months ago bassist and composer John Teske asked me to be a part of his Any Ensemble project at the Good Shepherd Center. His concept for this concert was to ask a variety of composers/musicians to bring in compositions that could be played by flexible, or “any” instrumentation. My resulting composition from this concert will be performed tonight with the same cast of musicians that debuted it during that performance. A second composition we’ll perform this week focuses on composing specifically for these participating musicians. A special thank you to John Teske for this fantastic idea!
The first of the two compositions is comprised of 7 pages of “Solo” and “Theme” material. The “Theme” material is mostly simple, conceptual shapes with no specific pitches notated. The shapes are intended to be interpreted by any possible instrument. The “Solo” material is intended to be a featured piece, of which a performing musician is able to select one of 3 possible “Solo” pieces during the performance. 6 musicians, notated in the score as player A-F, have specific numbers written on their score line. These numbers correspond to the above described “Theme” material, which they will then perform at a specific time directed in the score. The piece is noted to be played at a specific length of 16 minutes. We’ll be individually armed with our electronic gadgets to make sure of this.
To be the antithesis of the Any Ensemble, my second composition tonight was written specifically with these 6 musicians (myself included) in mind. The piece is approximately 6 minutes in length, and is scored around a 3 pitch set. D // Eb quarter step low // A quarter step high. I made a decision to use no steady pulse, but instead to focus on the phrasing in individual parts. Each musician’s part is complimentary to the others, but I’ve composed the particulars of it with the given musician in mind. An example of this is John Teske’s use of an attached bow hair to his double bass, which I’ve included in his music. Another examples is Natalie Hall’s use of grinding on her strings before striking a pitch.
The Improvising to Follow
I ask that those with the desire to do it please compose several small “themes,” and number them. These “themes” should be broad enough to be played by any instrumentation. i.e., simple visual shapes, etc. I’ll then ask the ensembles to interpret the pieces on the spot, assigning “theme” numbers to specific musicians to create a movable Any Ensemble piece.
A very special thank you to John Teske, Natalie Hall, Jacob Zimmerman, Paul Kikuchi and Greg Campbell for performing with me tonight!