Eric Wubbels, katachi (2011)

    Duration: 21 minutes
    Instrumentation: Sextet with live electronics
    Commissioned by the Wet Ink Ensemble
    Premiered by the Wet Ink Ensemble on Oct. 25, 2014, at the Sinus Ton Festival in Magdeburg, Germany (the MusicNOW concert of March 7, 2016, marks its Chicago premiere).
    Copyright/publisher: Eric Wubbels Music (ASCAP)

    The composer writes:
    katachi — form; posture of the body. A hybrid between a book of etudes and a variation set, the piece puts the ensemble through a series of focused contexts (“postures”) in which a given restriction produces a specific kind of acoustic fusion within the group.

    Part 1: Etude I-II
    Part 2: Epigraph, Etude III; Modulation; Etude IV; V 60 Hz, Etude VI

    “These contexts include a polyphony of “gestalts,” each passed from one instrument to another, like a skein of yarn that continually changes color (I); a chorale with the entire ensemble amplitude-modulated, like a giant vibraphone with the motor on (VI); a glissando, realized either as such, as a scale, or both (in the Auto-Tuned violin, which plays a glissando that is heard as a scale) (IV-V), and a single, baroquely ornamented melody, played in unison but played insecurely by all so that only 25-50 percent of any individual player’s notes speak, making the structure of the melody itself flicker from instrument to instrument (III).”

    About the composer:
    Eric Wubbels is a composer, pianist and co-director of the Wet Ink Ensemble, a New York collective devoted to creating, promoting and organizing contemporary music. His music has been performed throughout Europe, Asia, Australia and the United States by groups such as the Wet Ink Ensemble, Mivos Quartet, Kupka’s Piano, Berlin PianoPercussion, yarn|wire, ICE, Ensemble Linea, Talea Ensemble and Kammerensemble Neue Musik Berlin, and featured at festivals including the Zurich Tage für Neue Musik, Metz Festival, Sinus Ton Magdeburg and MATA Festival.

    Wubbels received commissioning grants from Chamber Music America’s Classical Commissioning Program, ISSUE Project Room, the Jerome Foundation, New Music USA and Yvar Mikhashoff Trust, and was awarded residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Djerassi Resident Artists Program and Civitella Ranieri Center in Italy.

    As a performer, Wubbels has given U.S. and world premieres of works by major figures such as Peter Ablinger, Richard Barrett, Beat Furrer, George Lewis and Mathias Spahlinger, as well as pieces by vital young artists such as Rick Burkhardt, Bryn Harrison, Alex Mincek, Sam Pluta, Katharina Rosenberger and Kate Soper. He has recorded for Carrier Records, hat[now]ART, Spektral (Vienna), Albany Records and Quiet Design, in addition to holding teaching positions at Amherst College and Oberlin Conservatory.


    To watch a “score-following” videos of katachi, click on these links: Part 1 and Part 2.