Reconstruction I

Reconstruction I : The composition is in two linked sections; the first is a digital audio file, and the second is a solo violin performance. By reconstructing a well-known solo violin work according to a serialized set of information, my intentions are as follows:

  • to make central the rift between the work's information and the work's mythology
  • to draw the listener to experience a familiar work from a new perspective
  • to untether the historical text of the work from the experience of the work
  • to make audible the limits and character of digital audio as compared to the limits and character of live performance

The original work is the Adagio from Bach's Violin Sonata in G minor. The reconstructive method I employed was to group together similar pitches, giving the bottom note of chords the pitch priority, ignoring octave difference. These groups are then arranged by pitch, in the order that they appear in the original work. Each note's duration, articulation, and expressive markings are maintained - so that the reconstruction is precisely the same length as the original, with the same variety of dynamic markings, etc. The durational and expressive aspects are particularly spotlighted by the juxtaposition of the digital audio version, which schizophrenically jumps, against the performed version, which naturally smooths these variations into phrase structures.

One of the most interesting and unexpected consequences of the digital audio reconstruction is that it sets in relief the reverb tails of the hall in which it was recorded. Each edit begins with a short decaying reverb from the note or series of notes that was played before the edit. I would suggest that a listener should try listening intently to these reverb tails, which act almost percussively, to add further depth to their experience of the work.