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Works Some of its Parts Jonty Harrison

Some of its Parts

  • Jonty Harrison
  • Year of composition: 2012-14
  • Duration: 11:25
  • Instrumentation: violin / percussion / piano and 5.1-track fixed medium
  • Commission: Darragh Morgan

Some of its Parts is an experiment in modular composition: a ‘tape piece’ plus any combination of violin, piano and percussion — a theoretical seven different mixed versions of ‘the same’ work.

This project began conventionally enough, when violinist Darragh Morgan asked me to write him a piece. Whilst developing material for this work, I became increasingly aware of the noisy, percussive nature of some of the sounds; a later request from percussionist Simon Limbrick for a piece with electronics made me link the two things in my mind. When, later still, I heard pianist Xenia Pestova performing works for piano and electronics, the full extent of the scope of the Some of its Parts project started to come into focus.

The performers are required to employ a variety of ‘extended techniques.’ Echoing this, the material in the tape / computer / electronics part is primarily drawn from non-standard ways of playing strings, piano and percussion, together with a selection of materials (springs, creaking doors and shutters, wooden floors, curtain rings sliding along a wooden pole) related to the live instruments — by sound and / or by the elements used to build the instruments concerned (wood, metal, etc) and / or by the physical principles contributing to their character (tension, friction, pressure, etc). The resulting sound world is thus a hybridised, unreal place — but it is hopefully also ‘more than the sum of its parts.’

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As well as Darragh Morgan, Simon Limbrick and Xenia Pestova, I should like to thank the members of the Thürmchen Ensemble, Cologne (Germany) for their instrumental recordings, which also formed the basis of Force Fields (2004-06) for 8 instrumentalists and fixed sounds and Phantom Power (2007-08) for 8-track tape. Thanks also go to Erik Oña & Helena Bugallo, Savannah Agger & Gerhard Behles, Molly & Geoff Warne, Nancy Harrison, Clare & Emma Harrison and Alison Warne for — knowingly or inadvertently — aiding and abetting the process of providing, gathering and recording the sound materials used in this project.


Premiere

  • February 15, 2013, Violin and fixed media version premiere: Encounters: Concert Darragh Morgan, Elgar Concert Hall — Bramall Music Building — University of Birmingham, Birmingham (England, UK)
  • May 3, 2014, Piano and fixed media version premiere: Xenia Pestova, piano • BEASTiary: BEAST with Xenia Pestova and Carla Rees, Elgar Concert Hall — Bramall Music Building — University of Birmingham, Birmingham (England, UK)
  • November 17, 2017, Trio and fixed media version premiere: DICMF 2017, Chamber Hall — Daegu Concert House, Daegu (Republic of Korea)

Albums