Highwire

for oboe and electronics

Tonia Ko

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for oboe and electronics

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Composer Tonia Ko
Year of Composition 2017
Duration ca.10'
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Categories (all composers) , , , ,
Catalogue ID ce-tk1h1

Notes

Performance of this work requires additional media. Due to file size, these will be delivered via file transfer service upon purchase of the work. If you do not receive these additional files, please contact Composers Edition.

Commissioned by Young Concert Artists for Olivier Stankiewicz.

Highwire features the oboe as a carrier for soaring melodic lines. While my piece seeks expression within this traditional view of the instrument, I also wanted to explore the oboe’s unique ability to color the same note in many different ways. Here, a simple melody is intensified by a full range of techniques, from subtle fingering changes to distortion effects made with the reed position.

In much of my artistic practice, I investigate musical details in a visual/ tactile way. In addition to the notions of shading a note, I also sought to create drama through texture. The electronic component in this piece essentially perforates the melodic line, mimicking the pulsations created through instrumental techniques. Rather than altering the sound itself (by changing the pitches, for example), the computer generates a series of little “windows” that allow sound to come through at varying rates. The results range from a very tight tremolo to powerful echoes that intersect with what is being played. In addition, a few pre-recorded samples provide a larger harmonic and timbral context for the soloist. These effects— both acoustic and electronic— create a melody that unfolds in a single direction, and seemingly, with a singular mission. The image of a long, textured line made me think of high-wire acts and the emotions of trying to traverse such a narrow path above an abyss.