Commissioned by the Finnish Broadcasting Company

  • 2(pic)+pic(afl).2+ca.2(Ebcl)+bcl.asx.2+cbn/43(Dtpt)31/timp.3perc/
  • 14 min

Programme Note

Kinetics is a piece written for large orchestra in 1988-89, commissioned by the Finnish broadcasting company.
My original idea was to continue working on a project I started in 1981, namely Trois Sculptures, which of I had finished the second movement. Very soon I realised that it wasn't any more possible to go back to this world. In between I had written among others Kraft for soloists and orchestra pushing my interest towards the orchestra in a rather different direction.
In 1987-88 I worked on a piece called Twine for solo piano. The main focuses in the piece was on harmony and a study on different textural solutions based on rapid an even repetitive motion.
The harmony project was based on a more or less cyclic idea with a chain of chords repeated over and over quite in the manner of a chaconne. With the help of a computer program I had been developing for a piece called UR I was able to extend a quite limited amount of basic chord material into entirely contrasting a different shapes.
Another main starting point I had for Kinetics was the question about whether it could be possible to orchestrate a piece in a way that the music itself would support its own acoustics? Working with amplification of instruments and transformation of sounds electronically gives one more possibilities to abandon acoustical limits. However, I decided for this piece not to use more electronics than just one synthesizer in addition to a traditional orchestra.
My solution for supporting the piece its own acoustics was to work in terms of foreground and background harmony. Every foreground chord would always have its background, a kind of a shadow not existing without its main chord.
In Ircam there is a program written by Gerard Assayag by which it is possible to analyse the fundamental, the partials of which any number of frequencies sounding together belong to. The more dissonant or dense a chord is the lower its fundamental is and vice versa.
I used this program to obtain a background layer of chords for the piece. A chord forming the "main music" instrumentated for some dominant instruments become coloured by a shadow filling up gaps in the harmony thus enhancing the overtone sensation and feeling of an existing common fundamental for the main chord.
This in practice lead often to rather dense chords formations for instance being the 40 first partials of a fundamental in order to cover the main chord entirely. Huge chords however have been instrumentated very softly often as sustained tones for pp-strings or organ-like sounds for the winds and the synthesizer in order not to cover the main chord.
Textural motion is another main idea of the piece. Motion and rapid gestures have always fascinated me. Repetitive music, however, has never been part of my musical expression. In UR I did a first attempt to base some parts of the piece on patterns being repeated.
The static qualities of repetition I find quiet boring thou, so I wanted to compensate repetition on one level by frequent changes on another level.
Thus with a repetitive rhythmic pattern the harmonic material is changing rapidly , or when a chain of chords is very static the rhythmical and timbral qualities vary frequently.


Lindberg : Kinetics


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