David Behrman: Unforeseen Events

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Unforeseen Events is the latest of many pieces Behrman has made with computer software designed to interact in real time with a solo performer. The four sections recorded here were made specifically with Ben Neill’s performance style in mind. The electronic timbres are intended to complement the sounds of his instrument—the admirable and humorous mutantrumpet, with its three separately-mutable and playable bells. Refractive Light consists of three small pieces based on an interweaving and overlapping of simple phrases. A musician strikes pitches which trigger responses in the form of sustained tones. The tones die out after a few seconds. While a tone is on it deflects the pitches of other “on” tones, so that harmonic changes occur at the on-and-off edges of overlappping layers. The idea can give rise to a kind of fanning or breathing rhythm which adapts itself to different styles of playing, and to a harmonic vocabulary with dozens or scores of family members.

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