An Open Room in Fenway Court (2021)
Written in collaboration with Ensemble intercontemporain
Duration: ca. 8'
First performed: May 5th, 2021 by Jens McManama at the Cité de la Musique, Paris
The title of this work refers to the outdoor courtyard of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, in the Fenway neighborhood of Boston. The museum itself was originally Gardner’s home, and the concept of transforming an everyday living space into a meticulously arranged, unchanging collection of art remained in my mind throughout the writing process. The building was modeled after a Venetian palazzo, and the image of a building seemingly from another time and place situated in the middle of a modern, American city also served as inspiration.
This work makes extensive use of the natural harmonics the instrument can produce, in addition to the usual equal-tempered notes. Many broad, arpeggiated gestures throughout the work, as well as a recurring two-note barcarolle figure, are derived from the upper partials of the overtone series. Elsewhere, the music always strives to capture a broad, resonant character, and attempts to create the illusion of a single instrument’s sound filling an enormous physical space.