Soundscape (Chain)
by Nils Schweckendiek
 
This piece was written for Constellations but was also performed in Out of The Deep and I would particularly like it to be included in Susan's web site.

Soundscape (Chain) experiments with the idea of creating a musical form on the principle of anticipation and reminiscence:  every main event is preceded and followed by clearly audible references to its main features, giving rise to an interlocking pattern in which a number of texturally distinct ideas recur, each eventually reaching its crisis.  I began to discover this method of construction with my string quartet, written for our last collaboration Incandescence a few months ago, and maybe I was also influenced subconsciously by the procedure adopted by Joseph Heller in Catch-22, which I was reading at the time of composition.  There, a small number of events are described over and over again, each retelling adding more detail.  To begin with, the reader is a little bemused by the many cryptic references;  in the course of the book, he repeatedly experiences the déjà vu which fascinates one of the novel's important characters;  and in the end he is unsure where he learned what about which event.
The wide, open sonorities of the opening and closing sections give Susan's stars space to shine.  In the central sections, by turns uneasy, capricious and striving, the faster rate of events and thicker chords demand more intense concentration on the musical happenings.  In this way I hope that the visitor's attention will be drawn sometimes to the paintings, sometimes to the music.  My love of continuo playing in Baroque music gave rise to the arpeggiations in the slow sections. Domenico Scarlatti leaves his mark in the athletic leaps around the keyboard and note repetitions of the faster music.
I continue working with chords derived from the notes of the Japanese pentatonic scale (E-F-A-B-C), and with the superposition of two dominant sevenths around a common tritone (resulting in octatonic harmonies, for example, B-F with G-D and D flat-A flat. B flat and E flat complete the octatonic scale).

I'm very happy that Christopher Willis has once again agreed to give a piece of mine its first performance in my absence, and extend my warmest gratitude to him. Soundscape (Chain) is dedicated to my wonderful piano teacher of many years, Peter Feuchtwanger.
Nils Schweckendiek
Click here to play an extract of the music
(1 min 54 secs, filesize 558KB)
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