There is a big gulf between the way that classical music teaches us to experience emotions and the way that our emotions are actually felt.
We have a great tradition in Western music of embracing great swings of temperament and mood – we have no problem thinking that a piece can move seamlessly from something that is whisper-soft to ear-splittingly loud. When I think of how my life actually works, however, I don’t think of it in terms of giant emotional leaps from one extreme to another – most of my emotional range is not from extreme bliss to gut-wrenching misery and back, all in a short period of time; my range is much more narrow, and too slowly changing for that. In my piece darker I wanted to make a piece of music that more closely matches my own emotional narrative than the narrative we have inherited from the dramatic music of the past.
darker is in many ways more like an object than a piece of music. It is a long, slow passing from something mostly even and pleasant to something a little less pleasant. My piece, like life, expends a lot of effort to go a very short distance, from beautiful to a little less beautiful, from a little light to something a little darker.
darker is dedicated to the memory of Jeanette Yanikian.
Ensemble Musiques Nouvelles
April 1, 2010 Koert Vermeulen, lighting design; Ensemble Musiques Nouvelles; Jean Paul Dessy, conductor; Bruges Concertgebouw, Belgium