seven stories for for flute and eight voices on texts by Paul Griffiths
written for Claire Chase & Roomful of Teeth
commissioned by the Pnea Foundation for Density 2036: part iv
premiere @ The Kitchen, New York, 1st and 2nd December 2016
directed by Lydia Steier
sound by Levy Lorenzo
lighting design by Nick Houfek
video design by Monica Duncan
Another woman of another kind — a commedia of identity — circles around the line: “It seems I should remember what to say.” This 23-minute, kaleidoscopic song-cycle for Claire Chase and Roomful of Teeth sets seven unpublished poems by Paul Griffiths.
The work is based on a millisecond-level microtiming analysis of Claire’s own performance of Varèse’s Density 21.5 made in February 2016 at Meyer Sound in Berkeley, California. The duration of each sound event — Claire’s every pitch, click, surge, and breath — was measured, transcribed into notation, and used as material.
The title — a line from Griffiths’ closing sonnet — hints that there are (at least) two Claires involved in the piece: The MeyerSoundClaire that is transcribed into the notation, and the LiveOnstageClaire who (with Teeth) weaves new music atop, inside, behind and under the microtimed transcription.
The durations of the movements follow a curve — each is longer that the one before.
story 1 – do
story 2 – life
story 3 – snow
story 4 – words
story 5 – numbers
story 6 – a piece of music
story 7 – it seems I should remember what to say