Don’t Look Back. You Are Almost There. 

For Piano Quartet
Fei Nie (p), Lisa Vogel (vln), Mika Persdotter (vla), Andrew Power (vc).  
PULSAR Festival 2017: 
Studiescenen, Frederiksberg, DK. 

Don’t Look Back. You Are Almost There was written for a workshop with Copenhagen Piano Quartet, as part of my studies at DKDM (The Royal Danish Academy of Music). It was also the first piece I wrote after moving to Denmark. 

The inspiration came from the myth of Orpheus and Euridice and the opera “L’Orfeo” (1607) by Claudio Monteverdi.  The piece attempts to freeze the  moment in that Orpheus looks back while attempting to bring his lover Euridice back from the land of the dead, thus losing her forever. I took an instrumental fragment of 45 seconds from Monteverdi’s opera and time-stretched it dramatically on the computer. By using “Spear” (an FFT recomposition software) I was able to manipulate the spectrum of the sound even further and to see its analysis at a down to a detailed, partial level. After that I re-instrumentated my “electronic” composition for the piano quartet.

Since my electronic sketch was so heavily time-stretched, the usual pitch fluctuations produced on acoustic instruments when playing normally became complex, slow-morphing microtonal movements, I decided to combine traditional and graphical notation on my score. This would be the first (of many more to come) piece which uses what I call “parametrical graphic notation”. 

The piece was premiered in December 2015 by Copenhagen Piano Quartet, it was performed again at Pulsar Festival in 2017 (by Fei Nie, Lisa Vogel, Mika Persdotter and Andrew Power) and was featured on my first ever “portrait concert” , performed by  K!art ensemble in 2019. 

Short example that shows the composition process: from Monteverdi’s original, to my electronic rework, to the final instrumental version.