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Consonants

Consonants

for saxophone quartet, string quartet and tape
(
2015 - 2016
)
In memory of Luc Brewaeys

The title of this composition is misleading because it has multiple meanings. The linguistic meaning of the English "consonant" is the main starting point of the composition. The electronic tape that is integrated into the composition, consists of sounds that almost exclusively originate from isolated consonants from a spoken (Russian) text. By electronically slowing down the consonants beautiful sounds are created that are related to the singing of birds and trickling water.

By electronically amplifying the instruments, it is possible to hear sounds that would be almost inaudible in a purely acoustic performance (for the strings position changes or the brushing on the wood and the tailpiece, for the saxophones blowing air and the sound of valves). These sounds are very similar to the sound on the tape and they create an organic whole.

The saxophones are not on stage but are playing in the hall, so the audience is literally in the music, witnessing the spatial dialogue between the instruments.

The other meaning of "consonants" (as opposed to “dissonances”) is also present in the harmony of the music. In this composition consonance is manifested in the overtone spectrum (that also appears in birdsongs) and various combinations of pentatonic scales. The pentatonic mode exists in different cultures all over the world and mostly functions there as a consonant whole.

While composing I received the tragic news of the death of Luc Brewaeys, who has always been a good friend and a source of inspiration to me. It gradually became clear that this composition was very indebted to him (I purposefully used spectral techniques and electronics for the first time), so I wanted to honor him by posthumously dedicating this composition to him.

 

Duration
12 minutes
Intrumentation
  • 1. Soprano Saxophone in Bb / Baritone Saxophone in Eb
  • 2. Soprano Saxophone in Bb / Tenor Saxophone in Bb
  • 3. Tenor Saxophone in Bb
  • 4. Soprano Saxophone in Bb / Baritone Saxophone in Eb
  • Violin 1
  • Violin 2
  • Viola
  • Violoncello
  • Tape
Commissioned by
Bl!ndman

Premiere

17/03/2016
deSingel, Antwerp, Blauwe Zaal
Bl!ndman Sax & Strings
documentation