David Adamcyk: The Illusion of Forms

David Adamcyk considers that a work’s formal articulation is deployed through the textural distinction operated by perception. In a specific manner, the composer’s work is played out on two inseparable planes: the creations of textures per se, and their arrangement or set up depending on the differences generated by their encounters. Thus, the role of auditory perception is at the heart of this approach, since texture is linked to the way in which the mind groups concurrent musical stimulations in simultaneous figures. This dynamic process triggers variations of tension based on different degrees of expectations, that are fulfilled or not. This approach recalls acousmatic’s recent birth. Incidentally, the coupling “texture-music” appeared in the language of theory and composition in the middle of the 20th century, and comes to the help of various attempts at defining sonorous phenomena for which the vocabulary seems insufficient. “Texture” refers then mainly to the perception of things that are “unheard-of” or, at the very least, that rule out the possibility of being described by the theoretical tools of traditional analysis.

The new sonorous combinations obtained through machines will literally lead to the birth of the idea of “sonorous matter” to which it will seem natural to attribute a “texture.” The appropriation of this concept for instrumental writing is probably most well-known with Ligeti, even if a string of composers could be mentioned here. In any case, what is remarkable is the new relationships established between the singular element and the totality within which it is operative: the texture appears as an illusion whose variation and development depends on the degree of erasure of the singular elements that comprise it. The impact of this discovery will be such that some works will be based on a single, constantly developing, texture. With Adamcyk, on the other hand, the work operates on two levels: there is first the instruments’ ability to fuse or distinguish themselves from one another. In this regard, Adamcyk’s compositional strategies are inspired by different geometric models that orient and riddle the sonorous continuum: rounded forms or slender lozenges shot through by dotted or undulating lines, modulated by pitch reservoirs and rhythm banks… Ultimately, and in each case, a texture is a vector form that becomes part of a higher-order formal level. It can be successively homophonic, polyphonic, heterophonic, simple, complex, saturated, consonant, descending, soft… imagination is the only limit, if such thing exists, which could circumscribe the nomenclature of its attributes. As parts destined to occupy the space of a new formal order, textures are subjected to a montage process whose finality is guided by the intuition of a large form. Just as the element yielded its own singularity for the benefit of a given texture, montage, by accomplishing its purpose, that is, that of a large form perceived as coherent, subdues the textures’ identity. In sum, the work is based on a double illusion. Moreover, the formalism suggested by the title of Adamcyk’s work (Double concerto) may also appear treacherous: there is only one movement, and while there are two soloists whose virtuosity is certainly clearly evidenced (an evidence somewhat secluded since the soloists – trumpet and trombones – stand up behind the ensemble), their relationship with the ensemble is not so much inscribed in the antinomy logic of the classical concerto as in the textural distinctions that articulate a formal unity. Last but not least, let’s note that the work also comprises a part for electronics which, in all respects, supports the musical thought outlined here. Two loudspeakers are integrated to the ensemble in order to blend with it. That is to say, the perceptual distinction between acoustic and electronic is not desired here. The textures composed for the ensemble and the soloists have been the object of simulations, later on subjected to spectral analysis.

It is from these that Adamcyk composed frameworks acting like partials or virtual formants to the textures projected by the acoustic instruments. In this universe in which illusions abound, one should perhaps not be surprised upon noting that our hand consists of five aces! David Adamcyk, « Double Concerto » Soloist: Stéphane Beaulac, trumpet Jean-Michel Malouf, trombone ECM+, Les Cinq As : A musical and visual fantasy on the theme of playing cards. Wednesday May 4th, 2011, 19h30 | Salle Pierre-Mercure 300, boul. de Maisonneuve East, access via Berri-UQÀM metroDavid Adamcyk considers that a work’s formal articulation is deployed through the textural distinction operated by perception. In a specific manner, the composer’s work is played out on two inseparable planes: the creations of textures per se, and their arrangement or set up depending on the differences generated by their encounters. Thus, the role of auditory perception is at the heart of this approach, since texture is linked to the way in which the mind groups concurrent musical stimulations in simultaneous figures. This dynamic process triggers variations of tension based on different degrees of expectations, that are fulfilled or not. This approach recalls acousmatic’s recent birth. Incidentally, the coupling “texture-music” appeared in the language of theory and composition in the middle of the 20th century, and comes to the help of various attempts at defining sonorous phenomena for which the vocabulary seems insufficient. “Texture” refers then mainly to the perception of things that are “unheard-of” or, at the very least, that rule out the possibility of being described by the theoretical tools of traditional analysis.

The new sonorous combinations obtained through machines will literally lead to the birth of the idea of “sonorous matter” to which it will seem natural to attribute a “texture.” The appropriation of this concept for instrumental writing is probably most well-known with Ligeti, even if a string of composers could be mentioned here. In any case, what is remarkable is the new relationships established between the singular element and the totality within which it is operative: the texture appears as an illusion whose variation and development depends on the degree of erasure of the singular elements that comprise it. The impact of this discovery will be such that some works will be based on a single, constantly developing, texture. With Adamcyk, on the other hand, the work operates on two levels: there is first the instruments’ ability to fuse or distinguish themselves from one another. In this regard, Adamcyk’s compositional strategies are inspired by different geometric models that orient and riddle the sonorous continuum: rounded forms or slender lozenges shot through by dotted or undulating lines, modulated by pitch reservoirs and rhythm banks… Ultimately, and in each case, a texture is a vector form that becomes part of a higher-order formal level. It can be successively homophonic, polyphonic, heterophonic, simple, complex, saturated, consonant, descending, soft… imagination is the only limit, if such thing exists, which could circumscribe the nomenclature of its attributes. As parts destined to occupy the space of a new formal order, textures are subjected to a montage process whose finality is guided by the intuition of a large form. Just as the element yielded its own singularity for the benefit of a given texture, montage, by accomplishing its purpose, that is, that of a large form perceived as coherent, subdues the textures’ identity. In sum, the work is based on a double illusion. Moreover, the formalism suggested by the title of Adamcyk’s work (Double concerto) may also appear treacherous: there is only one movement, and while there are two soloists whose virtuosity is certainly clearly evidenced (an evidence somewhat secluded since the soloists – trumpet and trombones – stand up behind the ensemble), their relationship with the ensemble is not so much inscribed in the antinomy logic of the classical concerto as in the textural distinctions that articulate a formal unity. Last but not least, let’s note that the work also comprises a part for electronics which, in all respects, supports the musical thought outlined here. Two loudspeakers are integrated to the ensemble in order to blend with it. That is to say, the perceptual distinction between acoustic and electronic is not desired here. The textures composed for the ensemble and the soloists have been the object of simulations, later on subjected to spectral analysis.

It is from these that Adamcyk composed frameworks acting like partials or virtual formants to the textures projected by the acoustic instruments. In this universe in which illusions abound, one should perhaps not be surprised upon noting that our hand consists of five aces! David Adamcyk, « Double Concerto » Soloist: Stéphane Beaulac, trumpet Jean-Michel Malouf, trombone ECM+, Les Cinq As : A musical and visual fantasy on the theme of playing cards. Wednesday May 4th, 2011, 19h30 | Salle Pierre-Mercure 300, boul. de Maisonneuve East, access via Berri-UQÀM metro

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