Visual Abstract (2002)
for flute, clarinet, violin, cello,
piano, and 1 percussion
Listen to excerpts:
Instrumentation: flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, and 1 percussion
I. Bells - Forwards and Backwards
II. Dome of Heaven
Duration: 10 minutes.
World Premiere: Premiered by the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble under the direction of Kevin Noe on August 10, 2002, Hazlett Theater, Pittsburgh, PA. Filmmaker Jean Detheux has also created a film to this music. The work may be performed with or without film.
In 2009, Canadian filmmaker Jean Detheux and I worked on a project together in which he created a film first, and then I wrote the music to his images. This piece was entitled L'œil écoute (The eye listens) and was premiered by the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble. For Visual Abstract, Jean and I wanted to reverse the process -- he would create his film to my previously existing music, which appropriately used images as its initial inspiration.
The music for Visual Abstract was originally written for the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble. Each of the three movements of Visual Abstract was inspired by a visual image. The first movement, entitled Bells - Forwards and Backwards, was inspired by the image of a tolling bell, and also its sound - a loud attack followed by a long decay -- and its sounds backwards -- a large crescendo followed by an accented note. One can hear both of these forward and backward bell sounds throughout the movement. The second movement, entitled Dome of Heaven, was inspired by Francesco Borromini's dome at the church of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane in Rome. Though it is one of the smallest domes in Rome, when one looks up into the dome from the inside, it evokes a sense of infinity and suspended time. The third movement, entitled Dance, was inspired by the image of a group of dancers creating an energetic choreography.
-- Pierre Jalbert
© 2016 Pierre Jalbert, Visual Abstract
Photo: Dome of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane in Rome