Scape After Louise [2010]

Scape After Louise
for percussion quartet

Scape After Louise was inspired by the sculptures of Louise Nevelson (1899-1988). Nevelson is famous for her huge wooden assemblages, each consisting of a network of boxes or grids. Within each box there are a set of found objects whose shape and characteristics remain consistent, but whose order, size, and permutation are changed in each box. Upon first seeing the work in Kansas City’s Nelson-Atkins Art Museum, I was thrilled by how a work so rigidly structured and static could explode with so much inner life and vitality. Though the sculptures stood still and monolithic, it seemed as if inside they were in a constant state of fluid and amorphous movement.

My goal in this work was to not only translate aesthetic logic of Nevelson’s work into a musical form, but to translate my experience of looking at the work itself — the way my eyes perceived the work and the way it is interpreted in my mind. Like Nevelson’s sculptures, the piece contains four different sonic objects that are grouped into four different “panels.” The first movement, “Dusk: Squaring the Circle” is more objective, consisting of a gradual focusing and zooming-in upon the panels; at first each panel is audible individually, then each group of objects, then each individual object by itself. It is akin to (aurally) moving ever-closer towards the work, viewing it from its broad totality to its finest detail.

In the second movement, “Dawn: Reassemblages,” the artwork is reconstructed in my subjective mind. As my mind begins to reconstruct the work from the smallest details to the full picture, the individual objects take on new meanings and personalities. They are no longer tightly bound by the grid of the work, but are free to transform, interact, and to take on unexpected traits and meanings.

Performers on this recording:
Talujon Percussion Quartet: Michael Lipsey (conductor), Tom Kolor, David Kossin, Matt Ward, Dominic Donato

Movement I — Dusk (Squaring the Circle):

Movement II — Dawn (Reassemblages):

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