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Matthew Whittall

Negative space for flute, Bb clarinet, bassoon, harp and string quintet (or string orchestra)

2011


Negative space (2011) for flute, clarinet, bassoon, harp and string quintet (or string orchestra) As a composer, I'm extremely image-oriented, almost always requiring some sort of visual stimulus to translate into music. (I've even wondered if I became a composer because I can't draw.) Tasked with writing a piece to be performed first in a gallery, music that would in some way interact with the space and artworks around it, my thoughts therefore turned immediately to the terminology of the visual art world. "Negative space" refers to empty space around (or within) an art object, space which nonetheless contributes to the viewer's perception of form and the relationship between objects in a field. Having recently finished a long, elaborate orchestral work and in need of a radical change, I became obsessed with the idea of writing quiet, largely uneventful music that approached, or at least commented on the condition of emptiness. This intent was reinforced on a trip to New York in early 2011, where I spent much time viewing up close the vast canvases of artists such as Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, Barnett Newman, Ad Reinhardt, Ellsworth Kelly and others, utterly seduced by the beauty of their works. The stark color contrasts these artists employ had the most immediate effect on the musical material for the ensemble, divided as it is into three discreet color blocks of strings, woodwinds and harp. What made an even greater impression, though, was the sheer amount of space required to display these paintings, as they are truly works on an epic scale. Epic space, empty space, emptiness made structural, visible, then audible. I was trying to make a simple one-idea piece, but after I wrote the opening music other materials crowded in, and it quickly became about the space between objects as well. As a result, the music is less about contemplating a single work than the gallery experience as a whole. (There's even an interruption by a group of loud museum-goers who arrive to block my view of a favorite piece.) Objects are placed on a plane, some distant, others in closer proximity, some sharing certain basic elements, but all essentially just sharing space. Some return, others don't. Is an object the same the second time it is viewed, or different, altered by the intervening sights? Occasionally the focus lingers longer on one element, as one does in an art exhibit, but there is no conscious narrative other than that dictated by my desire to wander between things that caught my attention. Overlaying these more abstract ideas, the music has a kind of processional atmosphere that shifts between tender remembrance and stark mourning. The background to the early stages of sketching was the Oslo terror attacks of July 2011, and thoughts of my friends and students there came out in treading, tolling rhythms and the muted, often unanswered calls of the winds. Negative space was commissioned by the Zagros Ensemble, and is dedicated to them.

Notes to performers: Strings: -All string players should use minimal vibrato throughout the piece -If a string orchestra is used instead of single players, all double-stops may be played divisi -In the case of a string orchestra performance, the viola interjections in mm. 140-168 should remain a solo Woodwinds: The woodwinds are required to move around the performance space throughout the piece. To this end, three or four stations of music stands must be set up to play from. Directions below are loose, and may be reinterpreted taking into account the space available and the nature of each performance. Station 1: All three players grouped together near the main ensemble. This station should be somewhat separate from the main group, preferably higher up (on a balcony, for example) Station 2: This involves creating two flanking positions to either side of the audience, about halfway down the concert space. Only two players will play from these stations simultaneously, so only two stands will be needed. These stations should also be on a different level from the main group and the audience, if possible. Station 3: A remote location as far as practical from the main performance space, preferably outside it, and invisible to the audience. The optional fourth station for mm. 112-127 involves having the three players stand between the audience and the main group, facing toward the main group (not toward the audience!). The above woodwind directions may be abandoned completely if the space does not allow a convincing realization of them. The piece may be played in a traditional concert stage setting as needed.

Duration: ca. 15 min.


Dedicated to the Zagros Ensemble

Score in C

Flute

& 44

B b Clarinet

Bassoon

Harp

Negative space

Timeless q= 54

& 44

? 44

& 44

? 44

w & 44 p 4 & 4 ww p B 44 w

Violin 1

Violin 2

Viola

p ? 44 w

Violoncello

p ? 44 w p

Contrabass

Matthew Whittall (2011)

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All WW players at Station 1

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q= 76

q= 90

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q= 54

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Cl.

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76 Fl.

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q= 90

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Cl. walk slowly to Station 3 Hold note until position reached

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7 4

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44

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74

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44

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"Gong"

Cb.

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q= 54

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? 43

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20-30"

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Chilly q= 69

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3 4

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45

43

Vla.

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q= 50

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6 97 Fl.

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q= 60

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q= 54

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b œ-

œ bœ R

œ3 Jœ n œ3 #œ œ . #œ œ œœb œ œ # œj -

œ-

œ

#œ œ J

œ œr b œ œ

œ œ J

3

w ˙

Vla.

B

ww

ww

?

w

?

˙

3

3

œ

˙

œ3 J nœ

œ

Fl.

&

Cl.

&

œ œ œ œ #œ œ bœ 3

œ

? R #œ

œ J

3

nœ œ

#œ œ œr œ œ œ # œ œ

œ

˙ ˙

œ œ

w w

˙ ˙

œ œ

˙˙

œœ

˙˙

w w

w

3

w w

˙˙

w w

œ J

117

˙

3

w

5

#œ R

3 b œ n œj œ bœ

j3 œ œ-

3 3 œ œ œ œJ œ JR

œ

œ œ bœ œ- - œ # œ- n œ 3 3 œ- œ œ # œ # œ œ œR œJ # œ- b œ3

3

œ

œ œ J n œ-

3

j #œ œ œ

œ

˙ ˙ ˙

œ b3œR J œ œ

œœ

œ bœ bœ

œ #œ

bœ j Rœ 3

œ œ œ

&

?

Vln. 1

&

Vln. 2

&

ww

ww

ww

ww

Vla.

B

ww

ww

ww

?

w w

ww

?

w

˙

w

w

˙

˙ w

˙

w w

œ w

w w 3

œ ˙

3

˙

˙

œ bœ

˙ ˙

3

3

˙˙

3

˙˙ ˙ ˙

3

˙

3

3 j œ bœ œ œ bœ œ nœ œ bœ œ bœ nœ 3 œ b œ3 3 œ J R b œ œ b œR œ œ R b œ œ b œr J 3 # œ# œ . n œ œ . œœœ

w ˙

˙ ˙

w w

œ J

3

œ bœ œ

3 œ j b œj œ

∑ w w

bœ œ #œ

j3 œ œ

j œ œ

?

w w

Cb.

3

œ œ J

3

&

Vlc.

3

Vln. 2

Hp.

3

œ

3 j œ bœ #œ nœ œ

3

œ

œ

&

Bsn.

r #œ

œ œ n œb œ œ bœ

Vln. 1

Cb.

œ

j œ œ

3

œ

3

&

w w

Vlc.

œ J

œ

3

chattering, banal

Hp.

œ- 3 œ J

œ

˙ ˙

œ 3b œ J

nœ œ œ

3

œ œ


8 121 Fl.

Cl.

Bsn.

Hp.

Vln. 1

Vln. 2

Vla.

Vlc.

Cb.

& œJ œ-

& œ bœ ?

œ-

Cl.

Bsn.

Hp.

Vln. 1

Vln. 2

Vla.

Vlc.

Cb.

nœ bœ

œ-

œ

3

œ-

œ

œ

# œ-

n œ-

3

Ÿ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ œ œ œ. J

b œ-

#œ n œ. b œ n œ b œ œ œ . œ # œ. . 3 5

3

b œ-

œ

œ œ #œ nœ B R

3

œ3œ J

œ #œ #œ R

œ

œb œ

#œ œ œ

bœ . œ

Ÿ b ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ b œ œ œ.. R J

bœ R

Ÿ b ~~~~~~~~ # œ # œ œ œ nœ J

œ 3# œ- # œJ œ

3

œ œ œ #œ 3

R nœ

œ

œ3

nœ œ 3

œ bœ œ

œ J

# œ-

œ œ bœ œ

3

œ-

?

&

˙ w

˙

œ

˙

w w

œ w w w

w w

w w

B ww

ww

˙˙

? ww

œ3œ & J

w w

&

œ

B œ

œ

œ

3

˙

bœ œ

œ R

˙

3

w & w

? ˙

3

œ3

œ

w ˙

œ nœ bœ œ

3

œ bœ

bœ œ J

œ

&

125 Fl.

# œ-

3

3

b œ- œ J

˙

œ œ bœ

˙ ˙

w

œœ

bœ œ bœ

˙

3

œ

3

3

œ #œbœ œ bœ

œ bœ œ œ œ nœ #œ nœ œ

3 œ bœ 3 œ œ œj b œ nœ bœ # œ . . n œ - œ- œ 3 Ÿ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~3 œ œ . . œ œ œ J R nœ œ b œr œ

3

œ œ #œ nœ bœ œ

#œ bœ œ bœ nœ œ

œ.

#œ nœ

œœ

˙˙

ww

œœ

˙˙

ww

˙

w All WW players walk away immediately after finishing -Fl to Station 1 -Cl to Station 3 -Bsn to Station 2

˙.

U ∑

Œ ß

U ∑

Œ ß

n˙. ˙.

U ∑

Œ ß

&

U ∑

?

w w

w w

w w

w w

w w

w w

w & w

ww

ww

ww

ww

ww

B ww

ww

ww

ww

ww

ww

? ww

w w

w w

w w

w w

w w

w

w

w

w

w

&

?

w

U ∑ U ∑ U ∑ U ∑ U ∑

?


9 132

45

64

&

45

64

?

5 4

6 4

45 Ó

Fl.

&

Cl.

Bsn.

Hp.

Inward q= 60

œ œ œœ.. ˙.

Ó

œ g ww ggg w rhythmically free, improvisational and intimate g œ 3 œ bœ œ ? œ œ b œ œ œ UÓ 54 œ œ b œ œ œJ œ Ó œÓ œ œ œœ &

Eb

6

6

œœ

6

œ œ b œ œ œ3œ J Ó

œœ w œœ

6

œ œ b œ œ œ3œ J Ó

œœ

ggg ww gg w bœ

6

œ g bw ggg b ww

œ 3 œ œœ œœ œ J Œ

œœ

6

œ b œ œ œ œ3œ Œ J

œ 64 64

6

Vln. 1

&

5 4

Vln. 2

&

45

64

Vla.

B

45

64

?

45

64

?

45

64

Vlc.

Cb.

Slowing

139

4 4

Fl.

Cl.

& 64

44

Bsn.

? 64

44

Hp.

& 64 gg ww ggg w 6 ?6 #œ œ œ Ó 4 œ œ œ F#

˙ Ó

44

& 64

44

B 64

44

Vlc.

?6 4

4 4

Cb.

?6 4

4 4

Vla.

6 4

U ∑

U ∑

U ∑

U ∑

D bBn

Vln. 2

44 b ÉÑÑ P # áÉ 4 Ñ 4

& 64

Vln. 1

q= 54

6 &4

trailing off...

f nÉ ggg É gggg # ÉÑ ggg b Ñ ggg gg n É ggg b Ñ ggg Ñ

U ∑

U ∑ Ó Ó U ∑ U ∑

Œ

U ˙. π freely U ∑ U ∑

l.v.

U ∑

U ∑

U ∑

U ∑

U ∑

U ∑

U ∑ U ∑ U ∑

U ∑

U ∑

U ∑

U ∑

U ∑

U ∑

U ∑

U ∑

U ∑

U ∑

U ∑

U ∑

Station 3 walking to Station 2

U ∑

wU π

U ∑

U ∑

U ∑

U ∑

U ∑

U ∑

U ∑

U ∑

U ∑

U ∑

U ∑

U ∑

U ∑

U ∑

U ∑

U ∑

U Œ ˙. f π U ∑ U ∑

U ∑

U Œ b˙ . f π U ∑ U ∑

U ∑

f

Œ

bU˙ .

π U ∑ U ∑

U ∑ U> ˙. Œ n˙. f ß U ∑ U ∑

Very long fermatas (7-10" each)

U ∑

U> . Œ # ˙˙ . ß U ∑ U ∑

B

U Œ ˙. π U Œ ˙. π U˙ . Œ π U˙ . Œ π

U w p U w p wU

U w ƒ U w ƒ U w

p Uw p

π

U w

π

U w

ƒ U w ƒ

U w

π

U w ∑

?

π


10 150 Fl.

Cl.

&

U & w ?

U ∑

&

U ∑

?

Vln. 1

&

Vln. 2

&

Vla.

B

Bsn.

Hp.

Vlc.

Cb.

? ?

q= 54

U ∑

˙ P

U ∑

&

?

Vln. 2

Vla.

Vlc.

Cb.

5

r œœ œœœœ

24

44

2 4

4 4

24

U ∑

2 4

24

24

24

24

U ∑

U ∑

U ∑

œ-

œ-

& œ b œ-

œœ -

œœ -

œœ -

? œ

œ-

œ-

œ-

‰.

r U œ w > P

U ∑ U ∑ U ∑ U ∑

U ∑

U ∑

U ∑

œ-

?

j3 œœœœ œœ œœœœ œœ

Œ

44

24

& œ-

B Ó

U ∑

U ∑

24

U ∑

˙

U j n œ w œ œ.

U ∑

U ∑

U ∑

Cl.

Vln. 1

˙

?

,

&

Hp.

˙

˙ ∑

159

& œœ b œœ

j œ. bœ

Fl.

Bsn.

U ∑

U ∑

U ∑

b œœ-

œœ -

œœ -

œœ -

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

44 b œœœœ P 44

2 4

24

24

24

24

U ∑

œœ -

44

U ∑

U ∑

œœ -

U ∑

U ∑

œœ -

24

U ∑

f

œ-

ß U ∑

œ-

24

f

œ-

44

f

œ-

U ∑

œ-

24

˙U. π U ∑

44

œ-

Œ

44 œ p

œ-

24

U> ˙. Œ b˙ .

4 4 œp 44 b œœp 44

44

U ∑

U ∑

DnB bEnFn

U ∑

U ∑

j3 j3 œœœœ œœ œœœœ œœ œœœœ œœ

24

U ∑

U ∑

5 44 j3 œ œœ œœ œœ œœ œrœ œœ œ b œœ œœ œœ b œœ œœ P 44 ∑

4 4 œp 44 b œœp 44 44 œ p 44

j3 j3 œœœœ œœ œœœœ œœ œœœœ œœ ∑

b œœœœ

5

r œœ œœœœ

5

j3 r œ œ œ œ œ œ œœ œ œœœ œœ ∑

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

œœ -

œœ -

œœ -

b œœ-

œœ -

œœ -

œœ -

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-


11

U ∑

166 Fl.

&

Cl.

&

Bsn.

U ∑

& œœ œjœ Œ b œœ

Hp.

Vln. 1

Vln. 2

Vla.

Vlc.

Cb.

?

& œ-

Œ

U Ó

& œ b œ-

Œ

U Ó

r U œ ˙. P

B ‰. ? œ

Œ

?

U ∑

U ∑

U ∑ U Ó

3

U ∑

U ∑

U ∑

?

U ∑

U ∑

f

U Ó

44

24

44

2 4

4 4

44 œ b œœœ P 44

U ∑

U ∑

24

24

U ∑

U ∑

2 4

24

24

24

24

U ∑ Œ

24

U ˙. π U ∑ U ∑

U ∑

U Œ b˙ . ˙ f >. ßU ∑

f

U ∑

Fl.

Cl.

Bsn.

& ..

U> w

P U & .. w > P ? .. b U w > P

U> w

sim.

U w > U> sim. w

slight, bell-like accent

slight, bell-like accent

4 4 œp 44 œp 44 b œ p 44 œ p 44

All WW start from Station 1 walking slowly to Station 3 -Players should not start this section together -Each player takes a different path through the hall -Pitches in any order, duration free -Avoid octaves in realizing the texture, but do not correct them if they happen 172

j3 r œ œ œ œ œ œ œœ œ œœœ œœ

5

U> w

U w>

U w > U> w

U> bw U> w

œœœœ

Vln. 2

Vla.

Vlc.

B .. b œ? .. œ

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

b œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

, .. , .. , ..

? .. œ

œ-

œ- œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ- œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ- œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ- œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

b œ- œ-

œ-

œ-

b œ-

œ- œ-

œ-

b œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

Pizz. one note every 2-4 beats ad lib. avoiding downbeats most of the time

Cb.

œ

etc.

œ- œ-

œ-

,

˙˙

˙˙

,

˙˙

˙˙

,

˙˙

˙˙

,

˙˙ ˙ ˙ π

ABRUPT CUTOFF ON AGREED SIGNAL

œ-

œ- œ-

œ-

Slowing a bit with each repetition

œ-

œ-

œ-

slight, bell-like accent

œ-

œ-

sim.

œ-

œ-

j3 j3 j3 j3 r5 . ˙ œœœœ œœ œœœœ œœ b œœœœ œœ œœœœ œœ œœœœ œœ œœœœ œœ . ˙ ˙˙ , P Harpist may repeat the notated measures as written, or freely improvise patterns using the notation as a guide ? .. .. ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑ ∑

& .. œ -

œœœœ œœ

œ-

3 3 3 5 5 & .. œjœ œœ œœ œrœ œœ œœ œjœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œjœ œœ œjœ œœ œœ œrœ œœ b œœ œœ œœ œœ b œœ œœ œœ œœ b œœ œœ

& .. œ-

j3 œœœœ œœ

œ-

REPEAT AD LIB. DURATION 1-2 MIN. Vln. 1

j3 œœœœ œœ

r œœ b œœœœ

œ-

3

Hp.

5

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

œ-

, .. , .. , .. , .. , ..

August 16, 2011 Helsinki

,


Negative space-Score