unbreakable line. hinged waist. (2002)

unbreakable line. hinged waist. (2002) by Jennifer Walshe. For flute, oboe, clarinet, percussion, piano, violin, viola and cello. Commissioned by the Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt. Performed by ensemble récherche at the Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik, Darmstadt, July 18th 2002. 


One of the ideas I was interested in exploring in this piece involves how conventional techniques of performance can be modified so that new types of sounds emerge. The performer plays material which is traditionally notated (or is in itself traditional in musical terms) but this material does not filter through sonically. This can occur in several ways – one parameter of a given sound can be altered, for example when the string players play an extended Romantic-style melodic line, using scratch tones as they would vibrato, or the pianist plays a piece on the piano, but with the lid closed. I was also interested in using sounds which might not traditionally have function or meaning in a musical context – the amplified sign-language gestures the percussionist makes were chosen for their sound rather than their meaning.

The performers are split into three groups, which are dispersed through the space. The strings and piano are situated on-stage, the percussionist outside the space. The flute, clarinet and oboe sit within the audience and work independently of the other instruments throughout. Their material is loosely based on recordings I made of the heating system in my apartment in Chicago.

-- Jennifer Walshe, Chicago, USA, 2002