Embers (2021)


Ensemble Linea
Jean-Philippe Wurtz, director + conductor
premiere performance on 5 September 2022
Abbey de Royaumont, Asnières-sur-Oise, France

Embers is a work that inhabits a delicate sonic architecture of crepitation and flutter, unraveling simultaneous processes of accumulation and erosion made possible through the work’s unique instrumentation — an ensemble that includes the Chinese sheng, contrabass flute, contrabass clarinet, accordion, cimbalom, harp, violin, viola, and cello.

The piece explores a rich palette of impulsive grains: the brilliant attack qualities of the harp and cimbalom at low amplitudes and the rapid fluctuations of the accordion’s various switches and mechanisms, all integrated into a vocabulary of low woodwind slaps, resonant key clicks, tongue rams, and lip pizzicati. Composed using from field recordings of fire and wind, these textures give way to the high tessituras of accordion and sheng combined with upper string harmonics. Sublime half-pitched contrabass flute drones and colored air resonances of the contrabass clarinet are blended seamlessly into cascading string tratto bow dragging sounds, evolving a tireless and unwavering murmur that often steers the musical discourse.

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