Days, Distance, Days (2023)

for trombone soloist, large ensemble and electronics

This piece will soon be available via Composers Edition
Commissioned and premiered by gageego! with soloist Ivo Nilsson

The premiere was given on 18 March 2023 with Aaron conducting

Programme Note

Days, Distance, Days is a roughly 15-minute concerto for trombone soloist and large ensemble that explores some of the many ways that groups of human beings connect, network, interact, and relate in the age of computers. The music is sometimes strictly led/locked into a click track – an electronic metronome set off at various moments by the percussionist. This can allow the musicians to achieve extraordinary feats of coordination, but are they playing with each other, or is each an individual connected to a network?

At other times, the same music is explored with immense freedom by the soloist or members of the ensemble. The structure, harmony, and counterpoint of the piece are all created ‘organically’ out of a recording of Ivo (our soloist) reading Elisabeth Bishop’s Argument. We hear this recording, filtered and manipulated by the computer and played back into the space via the electronics.

The music is constantly tracing paths across a distance: from individual to collective and back, sometimes able to carry one thing to the other, and sometimes not. As Bishop puts it:

Distance: Remember all that land
beneath the plane;
that coastline
of dim beaches deep in sand
stretching indistinguishably
all the way,
all the way to where my reasons end?