From above and far away (2020)

cl, pf, vln, vla, vlc, tape (15 minutes)

The piece was commissioned by the Eduard van Beinum Foundation, at the request of the Ives Ensemble.


The piece is in two movements. The first one, “from above” is based on recordings captured at Victoria Bridge in Montreal. The original recordings were kindly given to me by Hanna Hartman after I confessed to her that despite numerous attempts, I had failed to record to my own satisfaction, the sound of cars passing overhead on a metal bridge. The second part, “from far away” is constructed from several recordings I made of my favourite sound, the distant music of a motorway in Italy. The sound there is delicate, and the recordings always too quiet because as you approach the motorway, the pitchy effect caused by the filtering of the intervening landscape, gets less and less pronounced. The contrast between the movements is caused by the difference in proximity between the different sound sources and the listener/recordist. The first is a medium-sized sound space of no more than 30 meters or so, the second is vast and involves a distance of a couple of kilometres. The movements are united, however, by the sources of their respective melodies — a random stream of vehicles of different sizes driving along at varying speeds. Maybe it’s not quite the music of nature, but perhaps it’s something related, the unintentional music of what happens.