Elliott Grabill

composer | educator

Category: MIDI controller

Ocean Mermaid

This short musical poem features an undulating piano riff and a long, extended coda that sounds like laughing on the seashore.

Alarm

Alarm, for flute and live electronics, puts demands on both the flute and electro-acoustic performer, who uses a MIDI pad to perform notated rhythmic phrases in addition to standard processing.  The flute part alternates between high pitched, sparse pointillism leading to climactic long notes in the lower register.  I also explore the dynamics between a cappella flute sections, and purely electroacoustic sections.  The processing includes looping, granulation and doppler shift.

https://soundcloud.com/elliott-grabill/alarm-for-flute-and-electronics-live

Enkidu

Enkidu, for baritone saxophone and live electronics, was written for Tae Ho Hwang, and premiered at the Electroacoustic Barndance in February, 2018.  My goal was to create a longer solo electroacoustic piece whose development is driven by motivic material.  The design of the electronics of this movement resembles a telescope, beginning with little except a bit of reverb, but incrementally expanding the palate to include delay, looping, pitch shift, and the flanger.

Enkidu is the companion of King Gilgamesh of Uruk in the ancient, four thousand year old Epic of Gilgamesh.  Enkidu and Gilgamesh become friends, and could be seen as two archetypes of humanity.  Gilgamesh represents the city, civilization, and humanity’s advancement; Enkidu represents the primative, nature, and human’s origin. 

The third movement of the piece mirrors the emotions explored in the second half of the epic, where Gilgamesh struggles to come to grip with his own mortality after Enkidu’s death.  The movement evokes scenes of him crossing the Waters of Death to visit Utnapishtim, the Babylonian Noah.  The piece ends with the return of the Enkidu theme, a breath of fresh air after the music’s intensity, symbolizing Gilgamesh’s coming to terms with his life’s purpose.

Pluto

for B flat clarinet and live electronics

Pluto is a thirty-five minute long chamber work for clarinet and live electronics.  It has five movements:

I.  Serenity
II.  Cosmic Rant
III.  Planet Heart
IV.  The Sun’s Quiet Heat
V.  Gravity

Work on this piece began in July, 2015, around the time of NASA’s Pluto flyby.  By the end of the yeaBandanaBlackWhiter, I had a performable draft.  After winning third prize in Peabody’s Prix d’Eté, the final movement Gravity was programmed in the Peabody Thursday Noon Concert Series, with Melissa Lander on clarinet.  The third movement, Planet Heart, was premiered in August 2016 by Michele Jacot at the Toronto International Electro-acoustic Symposium, and performed again by Chase Mitchusson at NSEME in March 2017.  Clarinetist Shawn Earle also performed Gravity at the 2016 University of Virginia Technosonics Festival.

In February 2017 I teamed up with Andrew Im to perform the piece in its entirety.  We did so at the Centre Street Performance Studio in Baltimore.  We performed it again in at the Music City Festival in Orange, NJ, and perform it in Rutland, VT on August 13.

The piece is expansive both in length and in texture, with long undulating loops and delay that continue the clarinet’s sound like a piano’s sustain pedal.  Noise and ring modulation provide contrast to the smoothness of the clarinet.  The electronics allow for loud sections, harmonies, and sounds lower than the clarinet can play– all derived from a clarinet.10574423_742070775834053_9156229990406236303_n

Below are recordings of Serenity, Planet Heart, and Gravity.

 

 

 

 

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