Breath (1998) for string quartet & tape 14' [performed by Accordes String Quartet]
Right-click to open in new window
Breath for string quartet with soundfile draws upon the experience of exploring nature and being completely immersed in a soundscape. There is a path through the composition – near the beginning, an ascending melody enters in the cello which reappears in various transformations throughout the piece.
Material on the soundfile was recorded during an afternoon of play when the composer and his daughter set out to make as many interesting sounds as possible by banging, bumping, hitting, knocking, tapping, dropping, blowing and whispering . . . using an assortment of: wooden and pan flutes, plastic bowling balls, an amazing toy dump truck, marbles, a small plastic maze and blocks of wood. The microphone was placed very close to the toys to pick up all of the detail and nuance of these sounds. They were then edited, processed and shaped into rich textures that expand and contract in long gradual waves.
The work was premiered by the University of Calgary String Quartet on October 18, 1998.