Composition No. 63 is constructed in six sections (notated ensemble, open ensemble, trio section and notated solo section). The exact time for any performance depends on how the improvisation is utilized—that is, a performance can be anywhere from ten minutes to ten days (or more).
Section A utilizes the basic notated format and needs no explanation. Section B is an open-controlled situation. Each of the interpreting musicians is to begin at any point on their instrument to play a long note when cued by the conductor (musicians are not to change this note until cued by the conductor and when this occurs, the note can only be changed one half-step up). If a given instrumentalist reaches the highest note on his or her instrument, he/she should begin again on the lowest note of the instrument). The second part of Section B is a solo for soloist number one.
Section C utilizes the basic notated format with the addition of the soloist. There is also the addition of controlled improvisation in this line. (Improvisation is indicated by the wavy line.)
Section D begins with a solo by the second soloist and moves later into open improvisation from the entire ensemble. The third part of this section (D3) has the written ensemble playing chords over the soloist—the percussion section is also 'open' in this section. (The choice of notes for the chords are left to the performers.)
Section E is a trio section for both soloists and harp. Between each written part there is a short amount of improvisation (or there is a long amount of improvisation—whatever). Cues for this section come from the first soloist. Section F is for solo harp (notated). This piece is dedicated to Gruppe Neue Musik Berlin.
Composition No. 63 is an extended structure for two soloists and chamber orchestra that was composed in 1976. The reality of this work is constructed as a multiple forum that combines elements (lessons) from the post-Webern/Ayler continuum of the music to forge a new viewpoint. In this sound universe are positioned extended notated and controlled structures that make use of a dynamic cross-network of interrelated disciplines—and tendencies. From the use of pointillistic and phrase grouping structures to the extended application of ensemble improvisation, Composition No. 63 is a forum (platform) for dynamic chamber orchestra interaction and involvement. A given performance of this work provides a dynamic array of both material and language devices for participation. Every instrumentalist in Composition No. 63 is asked to function on several different levels (roles)—as an interpreter of fixed notation (in the tradition of that lineage) and as an improviser (in the tradition of what that discipline really is). This is necessary because Composition No. 63 transcends the parameters of any one focus (context) or tradition. I have designed this work as a flexible structure that can be adjusted to meet the realness of the moment. Composition No. 63 is a reality context for two soloists and chamber orchestra that provides terms for creative interaction. The composition is conceived as an opportunity to establish relevant terrains for the ever-expanding creative instrumentalist. This is a composition that breathes in with vacillating sound presence columns—as a discipline to open our perception of time and space. The composite moment structure of the work was constructed to emphasize the nature of fixed notated constructions—and its related vibrational nature—coupled with intersecting open (broader) sound spaces that are smooth and flowing (in contour). To experience this phenomenon is to encounter a 'particular' (experience) that is unique and relevant. Composition No. 63 is a multiple sound structure that establishes its own relationship with the space. What this means is that the focus dynamics of the work is not limited to any one interpretation and/or attitude. This is a music state that changes from one section to the next—from one music type to the next—as a means to challenge the sound presence of the music. Composition No. 63 is a dynamic sound block structure that was conceived as a series of 'color forums'—with sounds. The reality of this work was constructed as a challenge for creative participation—and positive involvement.
Composition No. 63 is a series of interconnecting structural columns that dictates its own relationship with the sound space. The composite form of the work is A B (S1) C (S2) D (D2) E F and it is from this point that its particulars can be viewed. Section A is a medium fast pulse relationship continuum that seeks to forward the reality dynamics of post-Webern/Cage invention dictates. The reality of this section is constructed in moment tie without any overstructure devices—as an effort to establish a dimensional sound space context that allows for fresh strategies for extended improvisation. Section A is a sound time field structure whose inner parts were positioned into the space of the music. In thsi section emphasis centers on the use of rapid phrase grouping metric (even) phrase (element) components—that dart in and out of the sound field—mixed in with the use of dimensional long sound (constructions) that spread the presence of the music. This is an active sound space context whose sound column statements seem to breathe into momentum. The basic illusion created from this phenomenon moves to create dense moving moment complexes that suddenly resolve into isolated sound (and phrase) statements—that are thin in character (and appear isolated to the listener). Section A is conceived as a live and dynamic sound universe structure that erupts with material moments and focus. Information in this context is evenly distributed throughout the whole of the composite moment construction palette of the music. There are no primary instrument focuses in Section A, nor is there any one timbral order (or spread). A given idea in Section A can be viewed as a catalyst that causes an effect (and/or response) throughout the whole of its material element spectrum. What this means is that every intention is actualized as a factor that influences the composite 'spread' of Composition No. 63's idea alignment. This is a music space that attempts to bounce given idea (intention) tendencies throughout the whole of its instrumentation—as a basis for a structural attitude.
Section B is a medium/medium slow long sound continuum that establishes an opening sound environment for the two soloist instrumentalists to enter. The reality of this section can be viewed as an extension of a technique that I first developed (utilized) in Composition No. 25 (in unit [blank]). Section B is constructed as an open long-sound sound environment whose material (sound) components can be individually or collectively changed. In this approach each instrumentalist is asked to play a long sound (any long sound) and raise it each time the conductor indicates until the top of the instrument is reached, after which the instrumentalist plays the lowest note and repeats the process. The use of this operative moves to create a music state of beautiful long sound beams (constructions)—giving birth to a world of sound textures that seems to just exist. Once this phenomenon is established the two soloists are instructed to enter into the sound space (of the music) to make the experience 'real.' Improvisation in this context involves open interaction without any overstructure devices. The opening solo entries are in fact a 'perceived duet' between the soloists—with the chamber orchestra providing a conceptual and vibrational foundation under the music (like a pillow—or sound pillow). All of these 'matters' can be approached from an open viewpoint with regards to duration (or at least superimposed duration—from 'yours truly').
The two soloists in Composition No. 63 are presented with several different combinations (musical context) as a means to establish the broadest possible terms for musical focus and dynamics. There are open and controlled duet sections in Composition No. 63 as well as extended solo participation (with and without ensemble support). A given performance of this effort should establish a dynamic spectrum of musical strategies and focuses (that makes use of many different factors—including the use of a notated material solo section—for harp). The 'open' duet aspect of Composition No. 63 has to do with the construction of open time parameter columns in the music as a means to establish continuity. Improvisation in this context is related to the system and system nature of a given sound context (space). There are no preconceived material or principle factors that dictate 'musical forming' or particular musical forming) for the creative instrumentalist (soloist). Rather the challenge of Composition No. 63 transcends any one fixed relationship to material (and material language). In Section C1 the first soloist is given space for an open extended improvisation—as a platform for self investigation (realization)—in and from (through) the traditional continuum of creative music invention. This feature is later reactivated in the structure of Composition No. 63 (after Section C) as a platform for the second soloist. Solo interpretation (improvisation) in Composition No. 63 transcends any one focus but rather solidifies from moment invention and material invention decisions—that happens in (and from) the essence of the music. All of these factors are established to affect many different aspects of the composite reality of the work. In the 'fixed' sense of (improvisation) construction, the instrumentalist is also provided with duration and approximate duration specifications—as a basis to establish a multiple (dimensional and 'presence' dimensional) sound forum that opens new tendencies for us to experience.
In Section C we are reintroduced to the world of medium to medium fast sound relationships—as a platform that intersects with controlled space (groupings) for open improvisation. The reality of this section in constructed as a forum that establishes fixed and open time slots into a greater web of multiple relationship columns—as an inter-network that contains a 'unique' (and interesting) musical environment. Both soloists in this context are given written notated phrase groupings (in unison) that act to 'wedge' phrases that arc against the 'activity' of the greater orchestra. This is a duet notated music positioned against another notated music—two sound world types the coincide in the sound space of the music. For the soloist the reality of this phenomenon is constructed as a phrase 'filling'-like music whose final interpretation involves the use of written (fixed) and open (improvisation) sound offerings that create diametric shapes that contrast with the 'business' ('sound business') of the ensemble. The reality of this concept is fitted into the greater music space (and created through the use of sound gaps in the composite fabric of the music)—as if a 'hole' had opened up in the sound space. To make this concept effective emphasis had to be placed on the textural (shape) nature of the sound space—as a clarifying factor that allowed for an effective 'difference' from (its) duet exchanges and ensemble exchanges. Long sound beams (constructions) are the backbone of this structure type—that being the use of long sound relationship groupings (sound lines) as a primary element that allows us to perceive the differences (uniqueness) of its 'positioned' improvisation spaces (and improvisation). It is this 'tendency' that separates Section C from the material nature of Section A. In the beginning of Section C long sound (line) groupings are established as a factor to broaden (deepen) the sound space of the music. As the music beings to flow the material (elements) begins to broaden and include the use of rapid moving phrase grouping statements. It becomes a question of the soloist in direct opposition to the ensemble—'one speaks but the other is answering and doesn't hear the question'—and this phenomenon continually repeats, etc.
Section D is constructed as a two-part soundscape section that opens the dynamics of the music. The first part is an open improvisation for the composite ensemble and the second part involves the use of six controlled sound devices (as a background-like texture for extended solos). Open improvisation in the first part of Section D can be approached without any instruction (as regards particular sound and/or conceptual areas that must be explored) or with the conductor 'shaping' the music (by indicating a 'volume' and/or sectional—instrument—specification). In either case the section was conceived as a forum to open up the space of the music by providing a different sound context to the continuum of the music—and also by providing a direct 'opposition' to the 'perceived' flow of the music (as a 'fixed material' structure—with that nature—to a multiple—open—music type that clarifies our awareness of sound—and sound shape/feelings). Section D was conceived as a forum for individual input and excitement. No two versions of this music should ever sound alike because the nature of collective improvisation. Each ensemble—or conductor—can bring their (its) own understanding of music to Section D (and shape the music accordingly). The second part of Section C is a sound cloud-like forum that establishes the complexion of the music—with the added feature of extended solo dynamics. This is a light textured sound universe forum consisting of open percussion, ensemble long sounds, and 'active' soloists (first soloist number one then number two). In Section D2 the ensemble is asked to play (on cue) six individual open long sounds as a compositional sound block that dictates the nature and fabric of the music. The soloist is given this material feature as a point of perception for extended improvisation. This is a ballade-like sound state whose tendencies move to emphasize linear phrase grouping statements and 'the concept of singing—and soft.' The soloist is expected to take the composite tradition of linear postulation into account—in Section D2. 'Give us a story' (about 'something').
In Section E we are transported to the 'thinning out' of Composition No. 63—from a composite music platform that was dense in makeup to a trio improvisation that consists of both soloists and the harp. The reality of this section is conceived as a response to Section D1 and D2—so that the flow of the music can vary (change). The weight of ensemble collective improvisation—as practiced in Section D—necessitates that all subsequent events (moments) be seriously considered (as to what effect they will have on the 'perceived' continuance of the music—in logical/illogical terms related to sound material specifics (and what this consideration means for the music) as well as what a given decision poses to the listener of the music. Section E was conceived as an open and closed context for three instruments that shifts from short open improvisation to short all-notated events. The section was constructed in a time point cue system that designated (and activated) six different material entrances. This is a music (and music forum) that breathes from open collective improvisation intervention dynamics that suddenly establishes a notated material sound universe designed as a multiple medium pulse relationship sound continuum. (The written material can be fitted by each instrumentalist into the palette of the music—sound space—or directed by the conductor to ensure complete positioning—whichever is desired.) For this section the harpist is asked to engage in improvisation with the two soloists (if this is not desired it can be omitted).
The final section of Composition No. 63 is Section F—which is a notated solo for harp (without any accompaniment at all). Here is the completed transformation of the music—as a form that establishes a reality of being (procedure) that can be positively experienced. Section F consists of seventeen phrase grouping statements in a time field of thirty-nine beats. The reality of this material was constructed as a multiple phrase grouping sound environment that breathes with its own presence. All of the decisions (specifics) that formed this section were perceived in moment time without any overstructure dictates (concerning harmonic and/or rhythmic devices). Instead the music was constructed with respect to the concept of phrase grouping continuance—as this phenomenon can be used to establish dimensional perception strategies—and 'sound changes.' Soft notated phrases—sounds—are positioned against loud passages (or accented single sounds) to achieve a kind of synthesized environment that really doesn't exist (as a linear fact).
The first performance of Composition No. 63 took place in West Berlin, Germany during the Berlin Jazz Festival in 1976. The soloists on that occasion were myself (soloist number one) and George Lewis (soloist number two), and was the conductor.