Fissão – Ostrava Days Festival
Premiere: August 31st, 2019
Ostrava Festival of New and Experimental Music
By: David Louis Zuckerman
Libretto: Tomás Cunha Ferreira
Conductor: Lilianna Krych
Soprano: Eva Marie Korena
Percussion: Chris Nappi
Guitar: Martin Škubal
Violin 1: Conrad Harris
Violin 2: Gergana Haralampieva
Viola: Juraj Madari
Cello: Andrej Gál
Fissão, translates as Fission in Portuguese. This music and selection of instruments emerged from my time living in Portugal this year. The piece takes up themes of energy and separation. I have also been influenced by the ‘fluid modernism’ of the architecture and street tiling in Lisbon. Oceanic metaphors lead to an emphasis on the horizontal Y axis off time and flow, as opposed to, a serialism where sounds emerge from an autonomous time-space between pitch onsets. From the first note, every other note is a chain reaction. Nothing is random. My colleague, the artist and poet Tomás Cunha Ferreira, has provided the text for the voice.
caminh ando ando segu indo indo continu ando ando par ando ando
songs are thoughts with are sung out with the breath when people let themselves be moved by a great force
caminh ando ando ca indo indo larg ando ando fic ando ando
no one knew whether it was a moment or a movement
caminh ando ando
indo indo chor ando ando and ando ando
If a line comes from the tip of your toes up to the air it goes straight out to space stretch your arms touch the sky see the line going up up up it will never come back you sent it out
algo algures ardendo me mistifica
me taca fogo
a palavra lavra lavra lavra lavra
quando eu era teu
o mundo era todo meu
For this suite of compositions Fission I-III, I wanted to find a term that best represented a causal chain of events, a kind of chemical reaction, like a stream of gasoline igniting in a hyper controlled setting. Polymer Chains, Chain Reactions, Fuses, Wicks, Reactors, Goldberg Machines.
These were the titles that I cycled through, finally landing on Fission and Causa, as the idea of pitch and vector as a form of energy separating and expanding along an event horizon. The image model is one of ‘determined combustion’ in the sense that each point on the chain has only one possible outcome -namely, the next point. One could describe this as a kind of structural dynamism and another way of articulating the preference for “action” and “event”, but not simply as random ‘hanging out’. Contiguous motion as opposed to the “space” we often here between pitch onsets in classical serialism.
This an attractive concept to me. I walk out in the street, bump into a friend, she introduces me to my future lover. One day the lover takes me to get a piercing in a tattoo shop. A year later someone sees the tattoo and says that the tattoo, by way of some strange image association, has just given them the answer to a problem they have been trying to solve for years etc. etc. So even with Fission, which is on one level about a kind of politics of division, I’m also trying to use this ‘destiny’ model to present some notion of ontological connectedness.