Aspects of the Void

Year of Composition: 2016
Instrumentation: French horn and piano (1 player) + tape
Duration: 7’30”
Premiere: May 5, 2016 at Galvin Recital Hall, Northwestern University; Daniel Brottman, horn; Nicholas Cline and Bill Milgram, electronics

Aspects of the Void is a meditation on nothing. How does something new and creative come from a blank page? My process stems from my own insecurities about writing “good” music that conveys a meaning. But what meaning? What important thing do I have to say?

The material of the piece is derived from the solo cadenza of Ligeti’s Hamburg Concerto, a work I greatly admire. The real “composing” is the process I used to deconstruct Ligeti’s work. A void implies absence—something once there that was removed. I’ve taken a piece I respect and torn it apart, depriving it of its original meaning. What’s left is sometimes cacophonous, as multiple lines compete at once for the foreground; at other times it is completely quiet.

Special thanks to Jason Charney for mastering the tape part and creating the Max patch.