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Each flows into the other

R. Andrew Lee premieres and records a new work by Bryan Christian at the intersection of spectralism and diatonic modality

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Score completed!

Posted on July 26, 2017 by Bryan Christian

 

Overview

Each flows into the other, for piano and electronics by composer Bryan Christian, draws its title from Geoffrey of Vinsauf’s 13th-century treatise Poetria nova: “Each flows into the other; and from this double river, expression will overflow.”

This line encapsulates Christian’s long standing fascination in fusing the disparate sound worlds of spectralism and diatonic modality. Commissioned by pianist R. Andrew Lee, who is internationally recognized as a leading performer of contemporary music and works of extended duration, Each flows into the other will explore the spectral-diatonic duality over the course of two hours. New to this composition, Each flows into the other uses a consistent spectral process across the work that unfolds at a glacially slow pace. This pacing allows the listener to aurally zoom in and explore the most minute changes and interrelationships between these unique sound worlds. The pacing also blurs the line between concert work and installation.

Each flows into the other marks the first collaboration between Lee and Christian. Lee will premiere Each flows into the other in Fall 2017 at the St. John Francis Regis Chapel in Denver, Colorado. Lee and Christian are planning additional performances across the US later in 2017 and 2018. Lee and Christian will also record the two-hour work for release as a double CD on the Irritable Hedgehog Music record label in 2017.

SPECTRALISM AND DIATONICISM?

Each flows into the other takes the harmonic series and exponentially stretches the overtones. Over the course of two hours, the stretching is relaxed until it first reaches the traditionally referenced harmonic series and is then further compressed. The ultimate aural effect is a collection of concurrently sounding glissandos (as depicted in the image above), which are sliding so slowly that pitch changes are nearly imperceptible. These glissandos are synthesized in the electronics part and fuse in various configurations to create different timbral palettes throughout the two hours. As the glissandos cross into various diatonic keys, these pitches are reincorporated in the piano part and faded out of the electronics. Thus, the diatonic collections played by the piano are actually part of the spectral process occurring in the electronics. Each sound world flows into the other.

Project Media

Chain Shift
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Features: Bryan Christian

Chain Shift, here performed by the Wet Ink Ensemble, presents an example Christian’s approach to form and ensemble-electronics dynamics that will be used in the proposed project. The increasingly angular lines, with near-unisons, that emerge from recitation-like stasis are particularly characteristic of Christian’s writing, such as the passage from 2:45 onward.

From 5:18, slippery glissandos gradually accumulate into an explosive climax at 6:55.

Combination
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Features: Bryan Christian

Combination, here performed by Ian Antonio and Josh Modney, is a salient example of Christian’s approach to microtonality. He uses similar harmonic and microtonal principles in his new work. This work demonstrates both active passages (7:06 and 9:42) as well as moments of stasis, near tunings, and repeating structures (10:50), both of which will be featured in the proposed project.

As If To Each Other…
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R. Andrew Lee performs Jay Batzner’s As If To Each Other…, which, like the proposed piece, is scored for piano and electronics. The electronics at enter at 5:40.

The passage beginning at 16:30 builds to the climax of the work at 19:35 and is a good starting place to hear Lee’s interaction with electronics. Irritable Hedgehog Music — the same record label recording the proposed project — released this recording of As If To Each Other… in 2015.

Start and End Dates

11/02/201711/30/2017

Location

Denver, Colorado

1 update
Last update on July 26, 2017

Project Created By

Washington, District Of Columbia
Bryan Christian’s music explores the porous boundaries between spectral and diatonic sound worlds. Indeed, most spectral music filters pitch content in one way or another. In Christian’s work, he filters the spectral content through a diatonic (major/minor key) grid. Christian’s work Direct your step further along the road’s course, commissioned by the E-MEX Ensemble, uses a…

In Collaboration With

Recording label
Kansas City, Missouri
Performer
Denver, Colorado

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