Instrumentation: bassoon trio
Written in Brighton, January-May 2016
Commissioned through the LSO Soundhub, and first performed by Dan Jemison, Joost Bosdijk & Dominic Tyler, under the baton of Darren Bloom, at LSO St Luke’s, Old Street, London, on 19th June 2016.
Dedicated to my mentor James Weeks. Using spectral analyses, alongside nuanced techniques and sounds particular to the instrument, the very acoustic character of the bassoon itself becomes a terrain navigated and explored by the three voices. These, in turn, act outwardly as an amplification of the instrument’s essential characteristics, the three instruments combining to form one meta-bassoon, moving through the gradually unfolding landscape of its own sonic identity. Multiphonics and alternate fingerings offer seams in the instrument’s voice whereby the sound is torn open for us to peer inside, gathering a deeper impression of the nature and hidden qualities of the instrument. In this way, Intraversing can be seen as a sort of inward glance, an autobiographical study of the bassoon, one undertaken and recounted by itself. The shape of the work as a whole is loosely modelled on the events within a single note, from the instance of exhalation, the surface noises of the keys, the gradual excitation of the reed, the broadening and strengthening of the spectral range, which works towards – almost searches for – a relative harmonicity, and ultimately recedes through a process of purification, a shedding of partials, one by one. This path is laid out provisionally, a touchstone, and from time to time the sound steers itself unavoidably into journeys and tangents of its own.