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New

Asunder

New

Asunder

for chamber orchestra


  • Instrumentation: chamber orchestra
  • Edition: performance material

 
description

I can’t tell you how to feel with this piece, but I can tell you how I felt while writing it, which is essentially how it feels to call oneself an American today: pulled apart, broken, anxious, untethered. My original impulse, for that reason, was to visit that same violence on the orchestra — to destroy it as a totality, and force the players into small, irregular, vulnerable aggregates instead. But I eventually abandoned this position, because it seemed to reproduce the same problem that traps us every day. If one way to respond to our era of disunity is to portray it accurately, perhaps another alternative is to imagine unity anew. So I chose to work against the titular fragmentation, and strive instead for synchronies of movement, sturdy resonances, structural accumulations, and an ear toward pleasure.

I never trusted the kind of biographical musicology that attributes musical details to the composer’s real-life highs and lows — never, that is, until I started composing a lot of works myself, particularly those that I do not steer from the piano. If presence-in-the-present is my priority as a pianist, then as a composer I try to give sound to the full texture of the moment in which I write, the temporal vantage from which I get to “show up.” Composing becomes a kind of time capsule, a souvenir of whatever felt urgent yesterday. Still, it is meant to be inhabited by players and listeners in the present. My hope is that this piece might, at least for its duration, serve to unify the bodies in the room -- an experience that is hard to find today, and one that might stay with you until tomorrow.

- Vijay Iyer October 3, 2017

Details
Auftragswerk : Commissioned by Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
Performance duration: 15'0"
Publisher: Schott Garden Music, New York
Year of composition: 2017
instrumentation: 2.2.2.2-2.2.0.0-1perc(timp, glsp, drum kit [tri, ride cym, sus cym, s.d, 3 tom-t, b.d])-str(6.5.4.4.2)

I can’t tell you how to feel with this piece, but I can tell you how I felt while writing it, which is essentially how it feels to call oneself an American today: pulled apart, broken, anxious, untethered. My original impulse, for that reason, was to visit that same violence on the orchestra — to destroy it as a totality, and force the players into small, irregular, vulnerable aggregates instead. But I eventually abandoned this position, because it seemed to reproduce the same problem that traps us every day. If one way to respond to our era of disunity is to portray it accurately, perhaps another alternative is to imagine unity anew. So I chose to work against the titular fragmentation, and strive instead for synchronies of movement, sturdy resonances, structural accumulations, and an ear toward pleasure.

I never trusted the kind of biographical musicology that attributes musical details to the composer’s real-life highs and lows — never, that is, until I started composing a lot of works myself, particularly those that I do not steer from the piano. If presence-in-the-present is my priority as a pianist, then as a composer I try to give sound to the full texture of the moment in which I write, the temporal vantage from which I get to “show up.” Composing becomes a kind of time capsule, a souvenir of whatever felt urgent yesterday. Still, it is meant to be inhabited by players and listeners in the present. My hope is that this piece might, at least for its duration, serve to unify the bodies in the room -- an experience that is hard to find today, and one that might stay with you until tomorrow.

- Vijay Iyer October 3, 2017

Auftragswerk : Commissioned by Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
Performance duration: 15'0"
Publisher: Schott Garden Music, New York
Year of composition: 2017
instrumentation: 2.2.2.2-2.2.0.0-1perc(timp, glsp, drum kit [tri, ride cym, sus cym, s.d, 3 tom-t, b.d])-str(6.5.4.4.2)
Orchestra: Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
2017-10-26 | New York, NY (United States of America), Carnegie Hall
Orchestra: Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
2017-10-22 | Newark, NJ (United States of America), New Jersey Performing Arts Center
Orchestra: Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
2017-10-12 | Lincoln, NE (United States of America), Lied Center for the Performing Arts