Cubism [Composition No. 42]

When thinking about writing this piece for IST, I was initially inspired by ‘cubes’ as in IST³; after all, there are 3 of us and the piece was to be written for our third published recording. But in the process of composition this idea mutated into an exploration of the simultaneous exposition of different aspects of the same object, as explored by the Cubists. (Their struggle to represent the unrepresentable - a combination of the immediate and the intellectually understood - seemed to strike a chord with a composer who mainly writes for improvisers!) I created a ‘cube’ which consists of 8 points of information; these remain fixed, but the musicians present the information in differing forms which mirror developments in representational painting. Two ‘flat’ two-dimensional views, with the musicians presenting the same information simultaneously, open and close the piece. The second element in the arch form is two three-dimensional views, with ‘perspective’, whilst the majority of the piece is given over to three Cubist representations. The relationship of the information elements never varies, but our perception differs radically depending on perspective!

This piece was written specifically for IST's Ghost Notes CD in 1998. It was given its first performance by IST in Autumn 1998.

© Simon H. Fell 1998

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