true histories

Sampled piano, electronics.

We now crossed the river by a ford, and came to some vines of a most extraordinary kind. Out of the ground came a thick well-grown stem; but the upper part was a woman, complete from the loins upward. They were like our painters' representations of Daphne in the act of turning into a tree just as Apollo overtakes her. From the finger-tips sprang vine twigs, all loaded with grapes; the hair of their heads was tendrils, leaves, and grape-clusters. They greeted us and welcomed our approach, talking Lydian, Indian, and Greek, most of them the last. They went so far as to kiss us on the mouth; and whoever was kissed staggered like a drunken man. But they would not permit us to pluck their fruit, meeting the attempt with cries of pain. Some of them made further amorous advances; and two of my comrades who yielded to these solicitations found it impossible to extricate themselves again from their embraces; the man became one plant with the vine, striking root beside it; his fingers turned to vine twigs, the tendrils were all round him, and embryo grape- clusters were already visible on him.

Lucian of Samosata, The True History

These are a series of short ‘preludes’ for sampled piano and live electronics based on texts collected by Reinaldo Laddaga. These texts are from a larger series that he has compiled under the name “More Short And Amazing Stories: Eighty Trailers”. This is an anthology (accompanied by audio tracks from various composers) conceived as a hypothetical sequel to the 1956 anthology by Jorge Luis Borges and Adolfo Bioy Casares.

The concept taken in the composition of the 6 pieces that are contributed to this anthology is one that reflects the orientalism of the material coming from the western point of view, and a sense of the antiquated values contained in the stories. The starting point is the idea of a the ‘piano prelude’. These pieces take existing preludes from the piano repertoire, by composers such as Bach, Chopin, Debussy, Scriabin etc., and remap them onto a foreign keyboard and tuning system, as if one is playing a known piece but it comes out through the altered instrument as a ‘fiction’.

performance history

  • First live performance by Saskia Lankhoorn at the Korzo, Den Haag, October 3rd 2012