I just put the finishing touches on my newest composition, Revolution Summer, which is a percussion quartet performed “in the round” with the players surrounding the audience. It’s about 12 minutes in duration. Read more below and feel free to peruse the score here:
Revolution Summer is inspired by Iannis Xenakis’s percussion sextet, Persephassa (1969), that utilizes spatialized placement of the performers to create surround sound projections of Xenakis’ statistical rhythmic and timbral concepts. I performed Persephassa in 2016 and while practicing the music I identified ideas I wanted to explore in Revolution Summer. Persephassa’s use of multiple rhythmic layers, spatial movement of sound, and tremolos on simultaneous instruments yields a number of “technical asymptotes” for the players: there are passages not physically possible to perfect, yet they inspire performers to strive to their best ability to realize Xenakis’ sonic concepts. Revolution Summer is designed to express tactile and sophisticated ideas in a surround concert setting, but also to employ smaller instrumentation and more accessible technical demands so that ensemble aesthetics, that inspired me in Xenakis’ music, can be achieved by a wider range of performers.
The title, Revolution Summer, references the grassroots musical and political movement of the same name that took place during the summer of 1985 in Washington, D.C. While the concept of revolution in this piece involves the circular movement of sound across the performance space, the music and ideas of the artists of the post-hardcore scene and their contemporaries served as formative influences for me and continue to inspire me to this day.