Katherine Young, where the moss glows (2016) | World premiere, MusicNOW commission
Duration: 14 minutes
Instrumentation: clarinet, bassoon, tuba, electric guitar, percussion, violin, viola, cello, and electronics
The composer writes:
“This piece began with a story and evolved by asking a question: What’s something significant or insignificant that you’ve lost?
“where the moss glows is the second completed piece in a cycle titled When stranger things happen, a project inspired by Kelly Link’s short story “The Girl Detective” (Small Beer Press, 2001). Link’s story is a noir meditation on loss, myths of femininity and the potential of the imagination. The detective’s investigations take her up trees; into dreams — hers and other people’s, and down into an underworld where stranger things happen.
“In this work for octet, amplification and electronics — recorded sounds referencing the story’s imagery interact with familiar instrumental sounds and those from misplaced, missing, found and untethered objects. A short list of important and trivial things lost, drawn from Link’s story and the stories the performers involved in this project shared with me: underwear, one shoe (left), socks, retainers, Amelia Earhart, glasses (prescription), my breath, Grandpa Burt, bobby pins, a small Japanese bell, a 2011 Honda CRV, all my CDs, keys, the Queen of Spades from a deck of cards, cell phones (multiple), pins (jewelry), wedding rings, 7th grade HW, a 50-cent coin, her Mother, a gold chain, my wallet …”
About the composer:
The curious timbres, expressive noises and kinetic structures of Katherine Young’s electro-acoustic music explore the dramatic physicality of sound, shifting interpersonal dynamics, and associations with the familiar and the strange. Ensemble Dal Niente, Wet Ink, Talea, String Orchestra of Brooklyn, Spektral Quartet, Fonema Consort, Weston Olencki, Nico Couck and others have performed her music. Recent and upcoming projects include collaborations with Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt, Third Coast Percussion and Distractfold Ensemble’s Linda Jankowska. As an improviser, Young amplifies her instrument and employs a flexible electronics set-up. Collaboration is central to her practice, and she has documented such work on many recordings, including the self-titled debut of her quartet Pretty Monsters, a duo recording with Anthony Braxton, and the multi-movement work Diligence Is to Magic as Progress Is to Flight (Parlour Tapes+), created with violinist J. Austin Wulliman. She also performs regularly with violist/scholar Amy Cimini in the duo Architeuthis Walks on Land. While teaching courses at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Northwestern University, Young is completing her doctorate of music. Her teachers have included Anthony Braxton, Alvin Lucier, Lee Hyla, Hans Thomalla, Jay Alan Yim and Chris Mercer.