House // 2017

Flute and Electronics

Duration // 14'40"

for Alex Hoelzen

Written in early 2017, House is a work for solo flute and electronics that reflective of, and influenced by Mark Z. Danielewski’s 2000 novel "House of Leaves". Additionally, this piece was written as part of a collaboration with Michigan-based flutist Alex Hoelzen, whose guidance for flute technique was absolutely critical for the piece’s creation.

When reading "House of Leaves", the reader develops an intimate relationship with the text as a direct result of Danielewski’s experimentation with the relationships between language and visual media, as well as his approach to the structure of the novel’s narrative, which often disregards or defies common syntactic relationships.  These qualities of the novel directly influenced the creation of House, and led me to experiment with the piece’s formal scheme in a way that was reflective of the novel.  Originally, this piece was intended to be modular ‘fragments’, with sections being performed in any order, and the inclusion or exclusion of sections being controlled explicitly by the performer.  While this aspect of the piece was somewhat lost over the process of its creation, the end result is a piece that interlocks excerpted (and adapted) spoken segments of the original novel with musical fragments of flute and electronics.  These fragments are not explicitly representational of the text, but they are reflective of the text and the experience of reading Danielewski’s work.  Musically, these fragments explore different timbral qualities of the flute beyond the standard repertoire of techniques.  As such, the sound and gestural implications of techniques such as whistle-tones, text spoken through the instrument, as well percussive plosives and fricatives, formed the building blocks of the piece to create macro-scale ideas out of micro-organized timbral events.  The result is a piece that is not excruciatingly demanding of the player, while still achieving a rich sonic palette through acoustic timbral exploration and real-time electronic manipulation of the flute material.

The electronics for House are a mixture between triggered sections of fixed-media track, and real-time computer processing of the flute and spoken text. All of the electronics are performed using a patch created by the composer in Max/MSP 7.