on magnetic fields

for a large ensemble divided into three chamber groups

 

                                               [hp, pf, perc]

[vla, a.sax, vln, bcl, db]                                       [bsn, vc, vln,  bcl, bfl]

 

 

Dividing the ensemble into three chamber groups, on magnetic fields presents three separated sonic entities: what are thought of as two kinetic whirlwinds represented by two different ensembles ignited through violin soloists, each oblivious to each other, and each moving through their own temporal evolution, and, at the centre of the stage, what is thought of as ‘a box of light’, formed by the harp, piano, and percussion.

At the centre of each of the two whirling ensembles lie a violin, which acts as an electric current, a wiry voice that magnetically charges the electricity of the ensemble that surrounds it. The electric voice of each violin ignites an electromagnetic spectrum, with each of the surrounding ensembles wrapping layers of various sonic materials around the violins, providing an electric cloud for the evolving electricities to speak from. Each violin begins at a very different state of evolution: the group to the left beginning in a state of silver haze, encapsulated by its surrounding ensemble, and the group to the right beginning from a state of grey matter, exposed and struggling to find enough electricity to bring its protective outer layers to life.

At the middle of the stage lies a contrasting sonic composite of piano, harp and percussion that can see both whirlwind ensembles at work. Thought of as a piercing, alien, light, this composite is a mysterious force that has the power to intervene in the unstoppable temporal processes of the violin groups, both protecting and leading these parallel universes to moments of communication and realization.

 

Listen to the piece, performed by Collegium Novum Zürich:

 

Listen to the piece, performed by the Bienen School of Music’s Contemporary Music Ensemble, Northwestern University:

 

Look at an excerpt from the score: omf_excerpt

 

* this piece can also be performed as a violin duo with one loudspeaker placed between the violinists