Commission: Brunnel Bicentenary Commission
Premiere: September 28, 2006, Southbank Sinfonia, Peter Wiegold, cond., Mathew Barley Cello, Cadogan Hall, London,
Length: 13 minutes
Instrumentation: solo cello with digital signal processing, string orchestra
Audio available on CD/DVD, and download, from EMF Media
Program Note: Traversing was commissioned in 2005 by Brunnel University (London, UK) as part of their Brunnel Bicentenial celebration, and was premiered in Cadogan Hall in September 2006 by the Southbank Sinphonia, with Mathew Barley, cello soloist, and Peter Wiegold, conductor.
The title was chosen first as a reference to I. K. Brunel, who designed structures for traversing land and sea. It also refers to the structure of the piece, which progresses mercurially by bridging opposing musical ideas, and to the solo part, which traverses the space between the conventional sound of the cello and a variety of electronically transformed identities.
The cello plays into a microphone, and the signal is processed in a computer running Max/MSP. The sound emanating from the speakers is simply the cello sound transformed--reverberated, delayed, harmonized, and spatialized in myriad ways throughout the piece.
I am very grateful to Peter Weigold and Matthew Barley for having chosen me for this collaboration, and for their inspired performance and recording. I would also like to thank Olivier Pasquet at IRCAM for his technical assistance. Finally, I would like to dedicate this piece to Rebecca Jo Plant, who has been a constant source of inspiration.