Anthony Cheung (1982)

vis-à-vis (2010)

pour ensemble et électronique

electronic work

  • General information
    • Composition date : 2010
    • Duration : 15 mn
    • Commission: Ensemble Modern pour ses trente ans
Detailed formation
  • flûte, hautbois, clarinette, basson, cor, 2 trompettes, trombone, 2 percussionnistes, clavier électronique/MIDI/synthétiseur [sampler] , piano, 2 violons, alto, 2 violoncelles, contrebasse

Creation information

  • Date : 2011
    Location :

    Allemagne, Francfort, Alte Oper

    Performers :

    l'Ensemble Modern.

Information about electronic
Electronic device : dispositif électronique non spécifié

Program note

In modern usage, the phrase vis-à-vis is usually taken to mean "in relation to," though it reads literally as "face to face." It seems rather applicable in describing the way the instruments in this piece interact. They assume various roles, from soloistic to accompanimental, confrontational to complementary. The addition of samples of each of the live instruments - which I recorded when I first met the ensemble two years earlier - offers additional perspectives, a kind of simultaneous simulacrum. The samples usually behave in a complementary way to the live ensemble, though they are often retuned in various microtonal modes and deployed in ways that would be impossible on the acoustic instruments; they are also combined to create the illusion of meta-instruments. Thus they are one and the same, yet separately very different.

The work can be thought of as a contemporary concerto grosso, though with constantly shifting roles. Traditional ideas of competition and collaboration exist between the instruments as well as multiple versions of each instrument (the samples). I wanted each player to have soloistic turns as well as participation in multiple, changing concertino configurations, and the work celebrates the strengths and personalities of individual players as well as the ensemble's collective virtuosity. As a fun way of incorporating the "signatures" of the players, I have also made use of au courant interactive technologies such as iPhone applications. The dialogue between the sampled and live sound sources is also a crucial aspect to the concerto grosso texture and form of the piece, as are the diversity of the movements, which range form playful and manic to introspective and darkly lyrical.

Anthony Cheung, décembre 2010.