For an ensemble of mixed timbres
from I. Four Necessary Chorales
(A Quartet of Timbres) was written between 20 May and 17 June 2002. In this short period a number of major technical innovations developed which have laid the foundations for the series of orchestral music
Instrumentarium Novum begun in 2003. The objective of Quatuor des Timbres was to investigate different and formal ways an ensemble of instruments of different timbres might interact with one another within particular musical situations. The music looks backwards to devices from the Renaissance (vocal and instrumental setting of a Psalm text) and the Baroque (chorales); performance instructions are kept to a minimum, and any that are present should be considered as a guide, no more. The music looks forward in unique ‘playful’ open-form structures that develop from algorithmic computation modeling the activity and density of sound within an ensemble of instruments across time.
In the 2nd and 3rd movements two contemporary models are acknowledged: Milton Babbitt’s graphic notation applied to the initial structuring of his early Composition for Four Instruments; Morton Feldman’s score of IXION in which graphic structuring of activity is extended to include the density of sound attacks.
Extract from Feldman’s IXION
from III. Jeux Diurnes
Study score [pdf]
Annotated Symbolic Composer code [pdf]