Navigations for Strings (1991) (15:17)
The Arditti Quartet
Download the MP3 sample (2MB)
Small Waves (1997) (55:48)
for String Quartet, Trombone, Piano and Two Water Pourers
Hildegard Kleeb, piano
Roland Dahinden, trombone
The Arditti Quartet: Irvine Arditti & Graeme Jennings, violins, Scheindlin, viola, Rohan de Saram, cello
Download the MP3 sample (1.8MB)
Alvin Lucier (b. 1931) has been a pioneer in many areas of music composition and performance, including the notation of performers’ physical gestures, the use of brain waves in live performance, the generation of visual imagery by sound in vibrating media, and the evocation of room acoustics for musical purposes. His recent works include a series of sound installations and works for solo instruments, chamber ensembles, and orchestra in which – by means of close tunings with pure tones – sound waves are caused to spin through space.
- The works on this CD belong to Lucier’s unique sound world and sense of exploration.
- Both works were written for the performers on this disc, including the renowned Arditti String Quartet.
Navigations for Strings (1991) was commissioned by the Hessischer Rundfunk (German Radio). Musically it consists of 4 tones, for which a long stream of continually changing melodic and instrumental combinations occur. As the players move through the combinations, they raise and lower the pitches in imperceptibly small increments, some smaller than the human ear can hear. As the size of the interval contracts, the players gradually lower the dynamic level and slow down the tempo, allowing the sounds to lengthen like shadows and recede into the ambiance of the room. Because of the closeness of the tunings, audible beats are heard at speeds determined by the distances between the pitches.
In Small Waves (1997), six glass vessels, some partially filled with water, are mounted on pedestals scattered around the performance space. Microphones are inserted into the mouths of the vessels, then routed through compressor-limiters to amplifiers and monitor speakers. During the course of the performance, the volume levels of the amplifiers are raised and lowered, causing feedback at pitches determined by the size and shape of the containers and their proximity to the loudspeakers. Following a sequence notated in the score, the players closely tune with the feedback strands causing interference patterns. At times, two water pourers empty water from one container to another, raising and lowering the pitches of the sounds from those containers.
- Both works are remarkable microtonal musical experiences.
- The Arditti Quartet are joined by the superb Swiss new music/ jazz musicians Hildegard Kleeb (piano) and Roland Dahinden (trombone).
- Liner notes by the composer, who also supervised the recordings.