DIANE THOME: AND YET...
for viola and computer-realized sound (2006)
World Premiere: Melia Watras, viola; October 23, 2006, Meany Theater, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
In contrast to my earlier viola/electronic work, Like a Seated Swan, composed for the Seattle Symphony in 1999, I wanted to compose a more intimate, less dramatic piece. I was also interested in constructing and integrating timbral content and formal design from a minimal acoustic source that would be transformed in multiple and even surprising ways. All synthesized sounds in the composition are derived from several excerpts of the violin music in Silver Deer, my 1981 acoustic piece.
And Yet... displays a certain autonomy and self-containment in both acoustic and electronic parts, even where they are intertwined. While the viola maintains a clear melodic profile in the two sections of the work, the electronic music undergoes a major timbral transformation, which introduces the second section of the piece with a distinct choral-like sound. Through the combination of various timbres and, in particular, the coupling of a rapidly moving, fast-attack sound with the longer melodic sculpting of the choral timbre, the quicker structural rhythm of the second section of the piece brings the work to a gentle close.
The title, taken from a haiku by the Japanese poet Issa (1763-1827), is intended to suggest the elegiac quality of the work. Here is an English translation:
The world of dew
Is the world of dew
Commissioned for Melia Watras by the University of Washington Royalty Research Fund, this composition is dedicated to my mother, who died in September 2004.
Software used in the creation of the electronic portion includes Metasynth Pro, Deck 3.5, and Soundhack. I thank Robert Austin for his collaboration in the production of the computer-realized sound.