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andrewcsmith on 02/26/2013 at 11:00AM

Elizabeth Adams – Rasp Scours Gleam

Vita Wallace (Photo by Joanne K. Cheung)

A couple weeks ago, we held a concert to raise some money to help us master and manufacture the first release on our new label Index – a record we're calling Index 0. The concert included other works by the composers involved as well as a few of the pieces from the record, and I've shared one of these pieces below.

Rasp Scours Gleam, by Elizabeth Adams, developed over the course of many months in close collaboration with violinist Vita Wallace. Elizabeth writes that, "The idea is to magnify (not amplify) the sound of a single note on the violin, and for the player and the audience to have the space and time to be listening together." To me, this concept of the performer listening to herself play, and taking her time doing so, seems central to not only this piece, but another piece of hers for violins, CUSP, which the duo String Noise recorded for our record.

This would make sense, as Elizabeth's ensemble Praxis seems like more a laboratory than an group bent on constantly lining up performances. The group uses its rehearsal process as input for Elizabeth's compositions, which she continually refines over the course of many rehearsals. As a result, the needs of the piece go beyond what's written on the page, requiring precise attention to timbral and tuning details.

The piece below was originally written for violinist Tom Chiu (of FLUX Quartet), and then extensively reworked with violinist Vita Wallace, who plays on the recording below.




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