seventeen and a half

Piano, voice, recorder, bass clarinet, trombone, percussion, electric guitar, violin, contrabass , soundtrack [15′].

seventeen and a half is a fantasy on Varese. The piece is made up from fragments of material from “Density 21.5”. These are weaved into a polyrhythmic texture over 2 samples of recordings of the first phrase of “Density 21.5” played at the same time and time stretched to about 100 times the original length. This creates an extended ‘moment’ which results in a play of radically different speeds and tempos over a slowly changing harmonic field. The idea of the piece was inspired by reading about the influences on Varese when he arrived in Paris in 1903. One of these was the very influential Bergsonian ‘Simultinaety’.

What duration is there outside us? The present only, or if we prefer the expression, simultaneity. No doubt external things change, but their moments do not succeed one another, if we retain the ordinary meaning of the word, except for a conciousness that keeps them in mind. We observe outside us at a given moment a whole system of simultaneous positions, of the simultaneities which preceeded them, nothing remains.

performance history

  • October 2005; Premiere by Maarten Altena Ensemble in various locations.