Two Vestiges

Two Vestiges (2010) – performed by the ensemble Studio New Music, Moscow Conservatory

completed 10 March 2010, Cologne, Germany; world-premiere 20 April 2010, Rachmaninoff Hall, Moscow Conservatory

Winner of the 2010 Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra’s Composition Prize


Ribbon Sculpture by Ursula Burghardt

I. Ribbon Sculpture

II. Japanese Garden


While living in Köln, Germany, I attended an exhibition of the artist Ursula Burghardt (1928 – 2008), who was the wife of composer Mauricio Kagel (1931 – 2008). She never considered herself an artist, and until her death in 2008, a mere two weeks after Kagel’s death, her works were virtually unknown. Near the end of her life, she became physically infirm and unable to make sculptures. Therefore, she began to draw three-dimensional works, which were in her mind as sculptures that she wanted to make, but could not. The first vestige, Ribbon Sculpture, was inspired by one of these drawings, and the melodic material is threaded through a series of sonorities, representative of the three-dimensional world in which she wanted to create.

I recently assisted in a series of recording sessions with the Luxembourg Philharmonie whereby they recorded three works by Japanese composer Toshio Hosokawa. The first, the Cello Concerto, contained three beautiful sonorities in its opening bars. I plucked these sonorities, and replanted them in my own sonic plot, and they serve as the basis of the second movement, Japanese Garden (karesansui).