Clarinet, Color Video, and Digital Sound
.. (2007) .. 1:00
This piece requires a clarinet which may need to be amplified in a large hall. Moderately easy.
The video and recorded soundtrack were produced in 2002. A clarinet part was added later that year and revised in 2007. The work may be presented with or without the clarinet part.
Flags are displayed on Broadway and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan on several windy days in October and November 2001, a few weeks after the 9/11 disaster. The audio is a soundscape piece created from fire-engine and police sirens. The flags become larger and more intense amidst the sounds of emergency, finally suggesting writhing phantoms. At the end, the flag of colored lights on columns is the façade of the New York Stock Exchange building at Christmas time.
A tiny flag on a sidewalk hat display. A table of small hand flags for sale. A flag hung in a shop doorway with flag scarves and shawls. A flag hung from the façade of an office building. A large flag hanging from a construction site. A flag on a pole between skyscraper tops. A gigantic flag wrapped over two sides of an entire building. A truck hauling an advertising trailer displaying a large plastic flag.
A flag alone, furling in the sun, illuminated front and back. Then the sky is gone, it is in black. Then waving on a pole, swinging slowly on a rod. The same in black, smaller, again smaller. Then the right side of the flag, thrashing violently. Then it is vertical, its center held by a rod, trying to break free. Then the right side, vertical and furling up,like slow flames.
Double images. Stripes line up across the center line. The light spreads to a diamond shape. It forms a moving yoke. It opens up to a square black void. The flags touch; the light there resembles a quick tiny spark. They touch again, pull apart, and are gone.
WHY ONE MINUTE LONG? Numerous flags appeared in New York in the weeks after the 9/11 disaster. Only a small percentage was graphically interesting, and even those few shots worked best when kept short. For a soundtrack of emergency vehicles, a little can go a long way. The sounds are intense and designed to be annoying. Finally, along came a call for works from a museum in Boston, for pieces relating to 9/11, maximum time limit 1 minute. That determined the duration.
NOTES ON AUDIO RECORDING
The sirens and klaxon horns were recorded from Nov. 11 to Dec. 3, 2001, right outside (unfortunately) the composer’s living-room window, which overlooks Amsterdam Ave. A pair of microphones was taped 15 feet apart to the exterior brick façade below the windows on the 22nd floor. The microphones were left up for days at a time; there was occasional rain, hence a pair of inexpensive dynamic mics was used. There is a fire station three blocks south and fire trucks regularly pass the building. The best time to record was on Sunday evenings. Huge traffic jams are formed by weekenders returning home, lengthening the few seconds’ time it takes a fire truck to pass by the building to 30 or 40 seconds.
CLICK BELOW FOR FLASH MOVIE - VERSION WITHOUT CLARINET
CLICK BELOW FOR FLASH MOVIE - VERSION WITH CLARINET
PDF file requires Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer to view or print.
Please be patient--a large file takes time to load. The image
may appear jagged on your computer screen but will appear smooth when printed.