corpse fragments (1998, rev. 2003)

for guitar

Duration: variable, ca. 5-8’

Premiere: Jesse Langen, Evanston, July 2004

Recording: Portrait CD, Jesse Langen, 2012

In 1998, a work called Esquisite corps was commissioned by the Art Institute of Chicago for instrumental trio (bass clarinet, mandolin and guitar).  Seeking to explore ideas related to painterly surrealism, each of the three collaborating composers, Amnon Wolman, Peter Edwards and myself, contributed one instrumental part.

 

Afterwards, Jesse Langen (who premiered the guitar part of the original Exquisite corpse and to whom these fragments are dedicated) continued to encourage me to make a new, solo version of, or at least some music related to, the Esquisite corps guitar part.  After several attempts, I finally returned to the music in March 2003 and completed these corpse fragments several months later (unfortunately during a time - not so different from today - when non-musical corpse fragments often made the news). 

 

Modified to further explore the sonic, textural and timbral potential of the solo instrument, as well as to examine the jarring effect of the juxtapositions in the original work, only six little pieces remain (each lasting about one minute).  In them, we are confronted with disembodied music - only a kind of residue is left.  These new pieces strike me, not as fractured bits, but as a glaring unity in terms of the immediate sonic repercussions of certain types of carefully measured physical action on the guitar.  For this reason, the corpse fragments may be played in any order, but they should be separated on the program by other music.

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