Ghosts of Swallows

Program note

Ghosts of swallows takes its opening pitches (heard as “prepared” notes in the piano) from the opening chord of Morton Feldman’s Swallows of Salangan. In this late 1950’s piece, Feldman notated the pitches (a string of vertical chords) but let the performers choose their own slow duration for each sound, creating the effect of “a series of reverberations from a common sound source.”

I was interested in how a transformation of this idea could play out on a much smaller scale. After composing a series of chords for piano, I allowed semi-chance procedures to determine note durations, density of ensemble, and in some cases, how pitches were to reverberate through the ensemble. Towards the end of the piece, I began looking for ways to bring the outside of the musical material into engagement.


Year of composition

Last performances