David Fennessy: gut, hair, skin, air

David Fennessy gut, hair, skin, air
gut, hair, skin, air

David Fennessy: gut, hair, skin, air

Year of composition:
Scored for:
for timpani, violin, viola, violoncello and electronics
David Fennessy
Instrumentation details:
for Sonia
Both the timpani and viola require 'localised amplification', that is, their amplified sound should emanate from as close to the player's stage position as possible.
gut, hair, skin, air was commissioned by the Hebrides Ensemble and first performed by them at the Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh on 30th May 2007.
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Work introduction

What happens in that instant just as the skin is stroked or when the bow makes contact with the string? Where does the impulse come from to produce a sound and how does it feel when it comes?

I realised a while ago that when listening to music I’m drawn towards a narrative but not necessarily the type which starts at the beginning and tells a story through to the end.

For me music has a unique ability to follow a kind of emotional narrative that finds a tiny crack; a split second in time; an instant and sinks further and further into itself – where time seems to seep out from the centre in all directions. In this way, the shape of the music acts as a kind of ‘freeze frame’, looking continuously at the same moment but always zooming in to higher degrees of magnification so that what can appear to be, for instance, a smooth edge can also be revealed to have the most intricate topography.

On an emotional level this can mean languishing for en extended period in an impulse - riding on the back of a motor neuron as it makes its way up the spine, standing on the ridge of a fingerprint a mile across or gliding on the gentlest breath as it escapes from the lips.

Music can somehow simultaneously describe everything leading up to the moment and the moment itself. For me the motivation to make a sound and the manner in which it is executed are very important when choosing which notes come next. By focusing on these aspects the smallest gesture becomes heightened and often it is the simplest musical element – an open string or a steady pulse - that can reveal endless intricacies.

David Fennessy

Special prints

gut, hair, skin, air

David Fennessy: gut, hair, skin, air

for timpani, violin, viola, violoncello and electronics , 10’

gut, hair, skin, air

David Fennessy: gut, hair, skin, air

set of parts
for timpani, violin, viola, violoncello and electronics , 10’

World première

Queen's Hall, Edinburgh (GB)
Hebrides Ensemble

Other works

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