a little night music

Archbold, Paul [Composer] (2004) a little night music. (music).


'a little night music', a composition for oboe and live electronics, recalls one of my nightmarish visions as a child. From the insistent and piercing scream of the opening to the unearthly oboe multiphonics and exotic dawn chorus of the close, the work was written to exploit the virtuosity of the commissioner, oboist Christopher Redgate. The work builds on a research collaboration to realise contemporary works for oboe and live electronics with new computer technology, and create new work and exploits the ‘extended techniques’ developed by Redgate: the extreme high register, quarter-tone fingerings, sustained multiphonics and circular breathing. The melodic writing adapts the constructive techniques of Traces, employing quarter-tone pitch-class-sets related to the interval set <1,1,2,3>. A melody is created from overlapping these sets which resembles a keening lament of narrow range. In the second half of the work the sustained multiphonic sonorities are unfolded as a pitch resource for short chromatic flurries suggesting exotic birdsong. The work builds on several years of my research into the Max/MSP programming language. The computer program I developed is used to capture and process brief fragments of the oboe line and create a dense chorus of simulacra and distorted replicas. A particular feature of this program is the control architecture that allows fragments to be employed in a precisely co-ordinated and interactive performance.

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