I performed the latest sighs of mortality, a new work for violin and electronics, on 24 February 2016. Here is a recording of the performance:
The title quotes Charles Babbage’s The Ninth Bridgewater Treatise (1837) that posits that all sounds on Earth are etched into the atmosphere where they wait to be heard by the right stethoscope.
My violin teacher was dismayed at the wobble in my bowing. Unable to extricate those unwanted shakes, I left the violin behind for a time. In the latest sighs of mortality that hobbling ghost of music past returns to rattle its chains. Following the process popularized by Alvin Lucier’s I am sitting in a room, this piece recycles live violin playing through a recursive process of recording and playback. What the violinist plays at the beginning of the process will have a dramatic effect on the shape of the piece, but by the time the performer hears the consequences, it is too late to change course. Eventually the live performance is submerged in a swell of room resonance. The process overtakes the violinist who, by the end, is transformed from a producer of sound to a listener.