Chicago-based composer, pianist and founder of ensemble a.pe.ri.od.ic Nomi Epstein is currently working on a new piece for me, entitled collections for Juliet. We plan to share it in its recorded and live performance versions during the 2018/19 season.
The debate over the importance and need for commercially released CDs of nearly all of one's own work is a topic often raised with a particular group of colleagues of mine, namely of sound artists. Naturally, since most of these musicians are working in the electronic music arena, they rely on recordings, rather than live performance, to make and distribute their work, and therefore making recordings is a perpetual project. For myself, the live performance is the only method of realization (i.e. writing for acoustic instrumental performers), and the preferred method of listening. The live recording of performance (mostly for documentation purposes) indeed becomes a mode of circulation, with all its flaws, but points directly back to the performance as the inital, and most valuable realization. It is not generally my goal to produce a professional-level, commercially released recording for each of my pieces.
Considering this discussion, I set out to create a piece whose realization would not be possible without the act of recording. Recording it would be the only way the piece could be realized. Henceforth, a series of works called collections was created. collections for Erik (Erik Carlson, violin) was the first of this series, each piece written for a solo instrument capable of microtonal glissandi, and subtitled 'a recording project piece'. Now I move on to the second of the series, collections for Juliet (Juliet Fraser, voice). Each work is made up of a series of glissandi for which I indicate only the duration, distance (interval by which the glissando should move), and direction. The performer is then asked to record these lists, making decisions of tone quality/color/starting pitch and then overlap the recorded glissandi in various ways with observance of the directions (parameters) set forth in the score.