Tendril and Nebula

clarinet, bass clarinet, bass trombone, percussion, cello, double bass

Composed 1999, duration 14’30”

Comissioned by 175 East, with funding from Creative New Zealand.

Tendril and Nebula, page 1Tendril and Nebula, page 2

Performance by 175 East, conducted by Hamish McKeich, Wellington, September 1999:

The title suggests a mixed metaphor, the organic alongside the astronomical. Although the words arrived late in the process, they go some way towards describing the forces at work. Propelled by small-scale rhythmic articulation, strands reach out towards points, tracing delicate spirals through space. Alongside these sit diffuse clouds of material, out of which new constellations take shape.

There is above all a concern with the intimate connection between the gestures of performance and their sonic result. The instruments act as filters which shape raw sound in a manner reminiscent of the procedures of the electroacoustic studio. There is a constant tension between organic direction and quite arbitrary frameworks, a mesh of non-congruent processes operating on different structural levels. In front of this, the intricate detail of the audible surface attempts to impose perceptual order on the precariously balanced network of forces.