work: arborescences

Arborescences (Piano Sonata No. 2)
Each of the twenty episodes of Arborescences is punctuated by a pause that prolongs its resonance for as long as it is made to persist. Amid these periods of rest, the music flows forth and back like waves of pianistic activity. The piece invites a contemplative mode of listening embracing the possibility for the musical narrative to leave unanswered the questions that it formulates. One may be drawn to apprehend each pause as projecting forward the momentum acquired throught the activity that precedes it; or to hear it as a trace, an imprint left from what has just happened – the enduring of something that has been. Or one may opt to listen to the resonance as sound-in-itself and stay firmly with the musical moment. In other words, one may choose to imagine a future, a past or a present: a time still.

The persistent image of those delicate kinetic sculptures that are Alexander Calder’s mobiles, with their suspended parts set to motion by air currents, accompanied my reflexion throughout the composition of Arborescences. The relative unpredictability of their movements is somewhat matched in the music by the fact that the lingering of the resonance is set to vary appreciably from performance to performance, according to the acoustics of the auditorium, the properties of the instrument and the disposition of the performer.

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commissioned by:
first performance:

12′ 30″

St. George’s, Bristol (UK)
perf. G. Poole