New Moon Morning (2012) for 4 amplified flutes and tape
29/7 Just recorded my new piece “New Moon Morning” (2012) this weekend, which I wrote for the flute quartet “40f”, plus a band part. This piece has evolved over a long time, in collaboration with the quartet, we had a workshop in Stockholm which helped me a lot to correct and finalise the piece (almost).
When I was in Tallinn in June, we discussed some creative plans with filmmaker Ülo Pikkov, with whom I have been collaborating for several years. He has an experimental film in the works, and was looking for music. Without having heard the music, he fell in love with the idea of whispering flutes. (This is Kristiina Ehin’s poem whispered in English).
But here at the Visby International Composers’ Centre, I had only invited Anna Svensdotter to record all the parts. It was inspiring. With Jesper’s help, the whole thing took maybe 4-5 hours and then we were done. Absolutely incredible. I wish I could work with musicians directly in the studio more often. Now it only remains to mix and play with sound volumes of different tracks. We amplified the flute so that there were 2 mics for each instrument, which means eight tracks + separate tracks for tape and reverb. But the whole arrangement made it easier to get as much whisper sound as possible, to make it sound as clear as possible.
1/8 Now the piece is fully mixed and a small short example of this can be heard here:
In this piece, three things are really in focus:
– the melodic lines and overblows of the flutes.
– whispers of Kristiina Ehin ́s poem – the band voice.
I didn’t want to lose the colourful palette of sounds in the tape part. So I’ve taken it up quite a bit to make it equal to the flutes. So you could say that this version is more like an EAM piece. For me the most important part was the whispers, which I’ve raised the most, sometimes even messing with the volume curves unnaturally, so that the crescendos stand out more. Then I added the studio reverb on the flutes, but made several different versions also with “drier” acoustics.
The form of the piece consists of 2 longer sections (the first part is divided into 2). It is all notated quite freely and the hardest part for me was figuring out the timelines of how long a “beat” should be. Timings above the parts synchronise all this with the tape part, and the arrows show which of the flutes is the one that has been synchronised with this (see various examples below).
Here noise sounds and whispers are mixed with melody lines, and the culmination of the piece builds on the melody lines, which otherwise stand out from time to time among the noise and the soundscape of the band part. The melody lines are repeated freely over a period of time.
I wrote the piece by first composing the tape part in Logic and using the Omnisphere synthesiser. At the same time I was sketching flute parts in parallel, and the aim of the tape part was to adapt this to my idea of the “whispering flautists”. I also tried to find sound material that would enhance the mood of the poem, which is about an early morning, the new moon, where you look out of the window of your room or soul and everything stands still (etc). I have always liked Kristiina Ehin ́s poems, because they are somehow so down-to-earth (in the best sense of the word) and poetic.