Gathering Dust

Gathering Dust is a MisoMusic Portugal commission for the Sond’Ar-te Electric Ensemble.

Instrumentation: Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello, Piano, 8 Channel Electronics and Video

Gathering Dust is an exercise in instrumental archeology. I asked each performer in the ensemble to find an abandoned instrument, either previously belonging to them or simply found in a place that is familiar to them. ‘Gathering Dust’ is a phrase that came up again and again as we went in search of these instruments, opened their cases and explored their sonorities. Most haven’t been played in many years but they were clearly still active, ‘gathering dust’. The action referred to by the verb to gather suggests these old and abandoned instruments maintain some sort of agency, a will to be active… In any case, they certainly gather the stories of who played them, their damaged parts and broken components being a visible (and sonic) reminder of what they’ve been through; the good times and the bad ones. This work is a celebration of these often forgotten instruments. With each of the musicians of the Sond’Ar-te Electric Ensemble we recorded and photographed the instruments in the spaces they were found. The piece is a journey through these spaces and through the idiosyncrasies of each of the instruments. Faulty key systems on a flute, a broken string on the piano became the core musical materials from which eight channel fixed media and a score for the instrumental part were devised. The visuals help situate the instruments and focus on some of the more visible idiosyncrasies as well, at times, the spaces in which they were found.


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