Tiffany’s Valentine’s Day Collection is a collection of sample-based compositions that I released online in February of 2012, with a second installment released in February of 2013. An important part of the project was to harness the power of the Tiffany & Co. brand mythology to create a context for the works. Each track combines disparate sampled elements from some of my favorite pieces of music. It is deeply personal in that the content is derived from my “favorites” without any further applied method. For example, the first of the 7 pieces consists of samples from Stravinsky’s Petrushka, Scene 1 “The Shrovetide Fair” (1911), from the recording by the Columbia Symphony Orchestra conducted by Stravinsky; Blonde Redhead’s “23” (2007) from the album 23; Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2, 1st Movement (1901), Benno Moiseiwitch, piano; and Satie’s Gymnopédies, 3. Lent et Grave (1888), Reinbert De Leeuw, piano. The samples are layered and sometimes re-pitched against each other to create new tonal contexts. More importantly, by combining “musical moments” from 1888, 1901, 1911, and 2007 into the same text, the sounds are encouraged to transcend their historical context. Prepared tails and loops allow the sounds to emerge from and disappear into silence, further altering the listener’s temporal perception.
The collection pretends to be curated by Tiffany & Co. and appears to the public audience to be anonymously composed. By adopting an anonymous approach, I hoped to emulate the method Tiffany & Co. uses to present their highly regarded engagement rings. Although there are many designers, polishers, cutters, miners, and even bloody civil wars fought to bring these perfect diamonds into their display cases, the ring is stripped of any context except the Tiffany & Co. brand (defined simply by Pantone’s trademark Tiffany Blue). To make clear this concept, I named each of the 7 pieces after a different Tiffany’s engagement ring (the piece described previously is titled Tiffany Soleste Round).
A close meditation on the collection is meant to challenge the assumptions made when listening to the original works and challenge the validity of our memories of those works. New information is heard upon re-contextualization, and the mythology of each piece is reinvented in juxtaposition.