hypothetical islands

Oboe, clarinet, alto saxophone, bassoon, bass clarinet and electronics [15′].

The dream of islands can represent our greatest desires and our worst fears, a pastoral idyll and a nightmare of isolation and loss. Surrounded by its walls of water it embodies the notion of separateness, inaccessibility to those outside and confinement to those inside. The piece traces a journey from a pole to 12 islands and back again. These islands are remote, uninhabited and real but they are rendered hypothetical, as abstract ideas. I don't wish to name them here, because I would like to keep them as fictions, but their bays and rocks are named in the music, encoded in the notes (if anyone cares to decipher them). These names, which are traces of the desires of their one time inhabitants are crystallized in singular microtonal pentatonic patterns, each one slightly different from the other, the tuning being affected by the actual GPS position. hypothetical islands is in this way an acoustic atlas, a carto-sonic fantasy on the notion of remote desert spaces.

performance history

  • 3 May 2012; Premiere by Calefax Reed Quintet at Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ, Amsterdam.
Pacific ocean