Otherworldly Air (2017) 5'

For string quartet.

Commissioned by and dedicated to Music from Angel Fire, with the support of the Bruce E. Howden, Jr. American Composers Project. Premiered at the Angel Fire Community Center in Angel Fire, New Mexico, 8/27/17 . Self-published (Morningside Press, ASCAP).

Otherworldly Air is a peculiar little piece, and, I hope, a strangely charming one. I like to imagine that this music – at first rhythmic and oddly grooving, then gradually more melodic, but still unusual – could be part of the whimsical repertoire of some alien culture. This music deals in a rhythmic and gestural language that will hopefully sound somewhat familiar, but the quartet plays this music as if they have received training in some entirely different performance practice than the one we are used to. Percussive sounds and ephemeral harmonic glissandi dominate the opening texture of the work, and even as the musical material becomes more traditionally pitch oriented, the players are asked to play in unusually high ranges and with the somewhat unorthodox color of molto sul ponticello playing. In all, I hope the effect will be a pleasant and surprising one, like you’ve listened in for just a moment on some alien sounds carried by a passing celestial breeze.

 

Listen:

A view of Saturn from the Cassini spacecraft, looking back towards Earth

A view of Saturn from the Cassini spacecraft, looking back towards Earth

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