Deborah Cornell

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Ensemble and video projection
Commissioned by Boston Musica Viva, Richard Pittman, Music Director
Concert Feb. 2,2019 Program Notes - excerpt
Deborah Cornell, visual artist, Richard Cornell, composer

Using acoustic and electronic means and video, Wind Driven comprises a complexity of interconnecting rhythms - wave patterns, tides, migrations, and architectonic forces. Indications are that profound changes are imminent in familiar rhythms, with many of the interlocking systems that control our climate in a transitional phase. As artists, we respond to this: wavelengths within wavelengths, modulations within modulations, forms within forms.

Our collaborative works originate in part from contact with large remote spaces: deserts of Southwestern U.S. and West Australia, Iceland's turbulence, Patagonia, the Fundy Archipelago, glacially carved coast of the west Atlantic - each a boundary zone, an interface, and a transition. Their extended histories are built of fixed, vivid, present moments, expanding to a continuum.

Wind Driven's large patterns and interlocking rhythms form three main sections that are allied in one dimension by the presence of sounds derived from natural sources - from which the harmonic resonances are built. The electronic components include a field recording from Nauset, a storm raging some distance offshore, and a storm in a canyon. These primary resonances are isolated and emphasized, forming an overall harmonic space that pulsates with the rhythms of long swells. Taking up these resonances, the instruments work them into melodic and rhythmic shapes, playing at the surface and investigating the harmonic structure. This process of sonic filtering is similar to occurrences at certain points in the video, where color brings out the structure and depth from an image. Emphasizing particular wavelengths by such filtering, in sound or light, is one formulation of our interest in parallel process.

The initial and dominant thematic image is a diagram of atmospheric pressure, oriented to the northern hemisphere. Its web-like lines graph the global circulation resulting from the earth's rotation, driving air and sea masses, cultures, migrations, and environments, as well as life at the cellular level. Sonically, pulsations with the rhythms of long swells are layered with quicker impulses and shorter phrases from the instruments.