Noctilucent Type I (Veils)

For violin, cello, bass clarinet, piano
June 2022
Installed / Performed
‘Noctilucent Veils’ Premiere SF Contemporary Ensemble
CCRMA, Stanford
December 1, 2022

A piece for violin, cello, bass clarinet, and piano. Composed early 2022.

Conceptually I began with the idea of a fold.  The piece strives towards flowing and non-hierarchical organization, drawing connections amidst the timbral variety of the instruments. I aimed to trace a series of movements or gestures and shifts of intensities – congealing, dissipating, suggesting both and doing neither. These abstract and poetic considerations made me think of a cloud: an object that is entirely surface, at once empty and substantive. Similarly, the piece focuses on surface, sonic texture, ebbs and flows, and the subtleties of resonance.

Noctilucent Type I (Veils) are a type of cloud found at extremely high altitudes in polar regions. They are fragile structures that appear and disappear quickly, often as a background to other cloud forms. Because they are so high, after the sun sets the clouds still catch rays, so that they are illuminated against a dark night sky.

The video below was from a read through and is the result of about 10 minutes of rehearsal, recorded with a single room-mic – which is to say, it's a very rough interpretation!