and cherries all black [2013]

Marc Yeats - Composer

and cherries all black [2013]

instrumentation – double bass and piano | circa 16 minutes in duration. | Commissioned by Geert Callaert and Martin Rosso

Note: the double bass uses ‘double bass tuning’ and sounds one whole tone higher than written.

performance notes:
The double bass and piano play independently of each other. Music is cued to begin only or at various points throughout the work. There is no ‘fixed’ synchronisation between the instrumentalists. Whilst the relationship of each instrument is flexibly placed against its neighbour, care has been taken to calculate potential outcomes of coincidence and variability. To this end it is vital that metronome markings are adhered to as accurately as possible although the composer appreciates that it is the various interpretations and practicalities inherent in the realisation of tempi that contribute to the richly unique nature and interplay of each performance.

There is only one instruction to the players; to begin when indicated and play until their material is completed. Cues to facilitate instrumental entries are given in each part. Thematic material is audible throughout the piece, bringing cohesion and structure to the work. All the instrumental roles are written to a high degree of virtuosity and most contain extended techniques and quarter-tones. The music itself forms dense, highly complex and constantly changing relationships that are frequently wild and sometimes beautiful.

The score and parts:
I have not produced a conventional score for and cherries all black; difficulties and variables associated with displaying the musical material in vertical alignment as represented in real time are considerable. Each performance will yield somewhat different results, interplays, gestural and harmonic references and outcomes. As a result, the material contained within the piece can only be read via the instrumental parts. Consequently there is no definitive performance of the piece.

and cherries all black cue map

and cherries all black can only be realised through performance [as opposed to comprehended by reading through a score]; this is the nature of the music – it has to be experienced to be ‘known’.

A note about the composition:
The double bass and piano are radically different sounding instruments. and cherries all black does not attempt to unify the sound of the two instruments in any way. Indeed, the idiomatic qualities of both instruments are explored to the full with little or no attempt to ‘harmonise’ these sounds together. This separation in togetherness [togetherness because both instruments ‘relate’ to each other in the same piece, context and performance] is further amplified by the block-like interjections of the piano against the almost constant playing of the double bass with both instruments connected by different musical material with occasional thematic [though always transformed] associations. This juxstapositioning of different materials creates a fresh and at times surprising dialogue that I believe helps resolve the balance issues between the two instruments without sacrificing the character, virtuosity, dynamic or expressive potential of either. The piano material is taken from an extensive solo piece called lenten fires [2013] and it is from the programme note associated with this work that the title and cherries all black derives [see opposite page].

Music for the double bass is a developed and much extended transduction of hyran for solo viola.