Work in progress – RITE

I’m working on three pieces of music at the moment. Well, that is, I’m supposed to be working on three pieces of music at the moment – today I actually managed to get some work done on two of them, at any rate.

The big project I have on the go is Why Scotland, Why East Kilbride, a music theatre piece for Cryptic Nights, CCA Glasgow 4 & 5 July next year. It’s for double rock band with video projection, including, I’ve just decided today, a ‘digital video mellotron’, which I’m going to use to deliver the 16 French horn parts needed for the piece. However, the work I’ve done on that piece today is boring and administrative…

More interestingly, I’ve turned this evening to a new work in progress called RITE, for four performers, four pianos, and four effects units. The centenary of the Rite of Spring is coming up next year, and I’ve been invited to write a piece, hence the deliberately-dodgy all caps title. To quote my current draft of the programme note:

The title of the piece is an acronym: it might also be spelled R.I.T.E. Perhaps it stands for this:

Recursive Invariant Transform (Electronic) = RITE

Or possibly:

RITE is terrible ecronym.

The four effects units are going to be used as feeding-back no-input noise-makers, operated by the pianists themselves. I’ve spent some happy hours surfing eBay for obsolete fx units and mixers: my latest purchase is a lovely old ART FXR Elite II which you can hear on the clip below. For the pianistic material, I’m mulling over those little bits of the piece which have always stuck in my ear, and kind of rewriting them as if from memory. Today I’ve been reworking the little scale for two flutes at the very end of the piece, just eighteen notes, which have already generated several minutes of material.

This clip is a kind of meditative recomposition of the initial two chords from the ‘Mystic Circles of the Young Girls’, combined with recursive fx stuff:

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