Springtime Moon

The weather changed this past weekend as did the time and with it all came a sense of Spring’s arrival.  The day was filled with a welcome light and now late into the night, the half-moon shines brightly through the clear sky. Sitting quietly here, awaiting the early morning to once again go out to travel, I am pondering the arrival of Spring and with it what will come of the life ahead.

While peering at the moon I had the thought that the greatest human joy comes with the satisfaction in one’s existence, and the greatest human despair comes with dissatisfaction with one’s existence. There are many events and experiences in one’s life which elicit this joy or despair, and of these they can be said to be equally effective in their impressions, though with very different results. For music, I find myself pondering not only of its efficacy to impress but also of its quality of impression, and find myself as deeply as ever pondering the quality of the experience of the music I am listening to, whether it is mine or others’.

I am looking forward to when my daily life can quiet down once again, to when the days go by more simply, and to again get in touch with the musical world of the pieces I am so attracted to…

Linux Audio Conference 2007

It was a real joy to finally attend the Linux Audio Conference after wanting to attend for years.  Berlin was as wonderful city to see and explore as it was the first time, the conference held many interesting papers and demonstrations, and perhaps most of all it was a delight and joy to see old acquaintances as well as to meet people in person whom I have corresponded for years now online.  It was also quite nice to meet new people and to get to know more about them and their work.  All in all a very nice event and one in which I would love to attend again in the future.  Many thanks to the team at the Technical University Berlin for hosting a wonderful conference!

Thoughts on Ireland

Lisa and I arrived back to Warsaw last night after a wonderful trip to Ireland this past weekend.  We started very early on Thursday morning on a 6:30AM flight to Frankfurt, then a couple hours before another flight to Dublin.  It was around 12:00PM by the time we left the airport and took a bus to city center, and since we were supposed to be in Maynooth for a sound check by 4:00PM, we didn’t have too much time to explore that day.  We ended up having a nice sandwich at an O’Brian’s (I think it’s a chain) and then went to see the Book of Kells exhibit at Trinity College, which was as lovely as ever to experience. After the exhibit we found our way to the train station and then headed off to Maynooth.

After a soundcheck and chatting a bit, evening came and with it an EAR Ensemble concert of music for cello and tape, which I was very fortunate to be invited to take part in.  My piece was first on the concert and I think because I was so anxious over the piece and also the presentation the next day that I had a hard time really listening and enjoying the piece that night.  (It didn’t help that we hadn’t slept much the night before and that I was freezing from the damp weather which I didn’t quite prepare myself enough for).  The rest of the concert was quite nice with a good variety of music, and I left the concert as impressed as ever with the EAR Ensemble and their work.  Dinner that evening and afterwards a short time at a pub with other professors and students was quite nice and the warmth of both was quite welcome.

Friday was a bit of a blur for me as I was a bit nervous about giving the presentation I had prepared, but I think in the end, it went quite well and I was pleased with how it turned out.  I think that I was supposed to talk for 40-45 minutes but I ended up going and going until I finished and realized I had spoken for 1 hour and 30 minutes!  It was nice to really discuss the design and ideas behind blue as well as to discuss music software design in general. If things go as well in Berlin in a couple of weeks I think I will be quite happy.

On Saturday, Lisa and I were able to walk around Dublin and see the sites.  We walked from St. Stephen’s Greene, through the Temple Bar area, then a tour of Christ Church, a walk around St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and finally ended up at the Guiness Storehouse (which we got to tour very quickly as we did not have too much time, but did manage to get in the yummy Guiness at the end in the Gravity Bar while looking out at the city on a beautiful day).

Victor was amazing in his hospitality and we also managed to have a couple of wonderful conversations at the pub on Friday and Saturday.  I was quite impressed with Irish pub culture and how casual drinking was in Irish culture.  The pub had a very nice feeling of community and a sense of just a nice place to relax a bit and enjoy good conversation.  Definitely something unique and favorable about the pub experience compared to bar cultures I had experienced elsewhere.

By the time we got to the airport on Sunday, the whole trip felt as if it was just too short, though at the same time it felt quite full, rich, and memorable.  The weather that morning was as dynamic as it had been the days before, sometimes gray, sometimes blue, sometimes incredibly windy and sometimes not, and just a couple hours later we were off into the skies and heading back to Warsaw.

After arriving back to the apartment complex, I had that wonderful feeling while walking towards the apartment of looking around at everything and seeing the old things in a new light, everything fresh once again.  Such a great trip and fond memories…

Phenomena

Completed: 2007.03.01
Duration: 6:25
Ensemble: Electronic (blue, Csound)

MP3: Click Here
OGG: Click Here
Project Files – Click here (.blue, .csd)

This piece was premiered on March 8, 2007, at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.

Program Notes

It is difficult sometimes for me to talk about pieces as to me they are less about a subject and more of an object in which to experience. Perhaps, though, I can mention some ideas that were on my mind when composing this work. The initial work came from exploring the Reson 6 instrument. When I found a sound I was drawn to, I studied and experimented with it, eventually discovering a way of building symmetrical chords from two related subchords that deeply interested me. As I continued to study these chords, I became increasingly attracted to their sound. After trying out a number of different paths to take with the form and with other material, I later found myself removing the different sounds and other musical ideas until there was just the chords and the whistle left. I found in the end that the two together really brought out the flavor of the other, achieving a lovely balance and character.

As is usual in my process, after finding some initial material there was a great degree of technical study of it, analyzing pitches, intervals, and relationships, and how working with these affected the sound of the piece and the experience of the music. That is only a part of the compositional process for me, however, and moving on is often more by feel and touch rather than by design.

Sitting here and listening to this piece, I find myself as close as I have ever been in finding a music that can be bright and colorful and yet at the same time be very serious. I have a found a great deal in this piece and hope others will find something in it for themselves.

Winter into Spring

The past few days have been wonderful: waking up to the sounds of little birds chirping away, a different quality of light greeting us to the day, a noticeable difference in energy in the air. There seems to be more people out and about and flowers are beginning to stretch and wake up from their winter sleep. Waking up early this morning and going down to the local Społem to get rolls for breakfast, I had a complete sense of satisfaction to walk outside to a gorgeous sky, the first really sunny day in quite some time.

I had grown up mostly on the East Coast in the States and while the changing of seasons is familiar, I think having lived in San Francisco the four years before coming to Warsaw last Summer has made the changing of seasons here be a very fresh experience. Though perhaps it’s not only refreshing but nostalgic too, as imagery of past experiences of seasons changing are slowly making their way back to me…

It’s amazing how the experience of every season change has such a unique character. By now I certainly have experienced Winter turning to Spring a number of times, but the changes never cease to amaze me…