You Burn Us (2013) Amanda Schoofs
A visual and poetic score for piano, percussion, voice, and strings (including nontraditional, found, and handmade instruments)
To be performed as a solo, or in any chamber ensemble configuration.
Commissioned by New Keys for their 10th anniversary celebration. Dedicated to Kanoko Nishi-Smith (piano/voice), Theresa Wong (cello/voice), and Jason Hoopes (contrabass/voice) who premiered You Burn Us on November 22, 2013 at Center for New Music, San Francisco, California.
Performance Notes: You Burn Us is a series of visual and poetic scores meant to provoke or awaken a volition within the performer, which might not otherwise surface. Presented as a portfolio of nineteen doubled sided cards, it is a series of thirty-eight scores at 10” x 7” each. Through experimenting with painting, writing, printmaking, xerography, typography, and digital practices the work pushes ideas of theme, repetition, and variation to their extremes.
The formal structure is appropriated from John Cage’s Songbooks. It can be performed in whole or in part; as a solo, or in any ensemble variation. Musicians are encouraged to choose scores that resonate with them, and can perform as many or as few of the scores as they would like. The scores can be performed in any order; can be played one after another, or simultaneously; and can be repeated. The duration is free, and can be predetermined, or decided spontaneously in performance. The length of time that the musicians perform each score is indeterminate, and should vary. The performers may begin and end anywhere on the page (scores do not need to be read traditionally from left to right, top to bottom). The poetic scores are provocative fragments that can be interpreted literally, conceptually, instrumentally, or vocally. They are meditations on sound and performance, inspired by my experiences with improvisation, and listening. A few fragments of my poems are quoted from the poets Jorie Grahm, Paul Mitchell, and Sappho.
Program Notes: You Burn Us is a visual and poetic representation of sound that deconstructs traditional forms of musical notation, and develops new representations in order to achieve equilibrium between composition and spontaneity in performance. Traditional printing and dissemination of my painted graphic scores has led to a host of irregularities during production. The corruption and degradation of a score through xerography is ignored in conventionally notated works, but in a visual score all irregularities change the musical interpretation of the piece. I first began encountering this in 2006 when I was scanning and photocoping large chromatic paintings in order to give performers a more functional score to practice and perform from. I realized that the variations in color, loss of information, and the addition of digital noise through replication presented new information for the performer to interrupt. Since then, I have been equally fascinated and frustrated with the noise and irregularties that result in the printing process. You Burn Us exploits the process of translation within the multiple, and explores the variations of noise, loss of information, and destruction of the image that occur within the printing process. By using common copy machines, scanning, and digital manipulation of previously hand worked materials the resulting scores create a conceptual investigation of modes of production and their effects on the transfer and interpretation of information.
copyright art |ärt| verb 2013