The piece is in 5 short sections ranging from lyic and expressive to
boldly virtuosic. It owes a debt to the imaginative composer, John Eaton.
I was one of his electronic music assistants and our ensemble united with
the orchestra and singers for performances of his operas at Indiana
University. (He, by the way, was the first to give a live performance of
electronic music in the late 50's and early 60's in Rome while he was at
the American Academy. He is currently a MacArthur Fellow and Professor of
Music at the University of Chicago and has formed his own chamber opera
company.) Anyway, I learned to greatly appreciate the beauty of his
music, and specifically, his use of quarter-tones. I used quarter-tone
inflections in the tape part as everyone will hear.
Snippets of the "live" violin music were sampled, digitally edited and
used to provide the bulk of the tape dialogue. I address three basic
styles of instrument and tape techniques:
The first is antiphonal music where the soloist and tape alternate
The second involves synchronous music where the soloist does his or her
best to stay with the tape. The slight inaccuracies which occur are not
specific to instrument and tape music - they happen in just about every
concerto I've seen where the conductor has one idea of the "correct" tempo
while the soloist is busy projecting a slightly varied interpretation.
The third instrument and tape technique of composing involves a loosely
unified, free interplay where exact synchronization is not intended.
In spite of the aforementioned, this piece has its share of trecherous
spots but performers have always managed to overcome the difficulties and
make real music of it. Recent performances have taken place at the
20th-Century Music Series in Chicago, during festivals, in university
settings and at a computer executives' gathering in Silicon Valley.