Early Works

Wayne Siegel
Early Works

Autumn Resonance (1979) 26:06

Domino Figures (1979) 18:55

Voices Recurrent (1980) 13:14

Music for 21 Clarinets (1980) 15:43

Autumn Resonance for piano and delays was composed in 1979 and has since been performed frequently by the composer. The piece was given its U.S. premiere by Wayne Siegel in 1982 at the New Music America Festival in Chicago.

The piano is amplified and heard live through two speakers in the hall. The sound is also delayed by two digital delays and repeated 187 ms. (0.187 second) later through the left speaker and again 187 ms. later (or 374 ms. after the original sound) through the right speaker. Autumn Resonance is a very fast canon in which musical figures move very quickly around the concert hall. The delay process is used in two very different ways: both as a textural effect, in which the overtones of fast tremolo chords are layered upon themselves to create a singing, drone-like effect, and also as a rhythmic and spatial idea in the middle section of the piece, in which the pianist plays fast staccato figures synchronized with the two delays.

Autumn Resonance is precisely notated in the form of a score, but each performance by the composer is slightly different, depending on the resonance of the individual piano and of the concert hall. The work was originally released on the PAULA label in 1983 with Wayne Siegel performing on a Bösendorfer concert grand. The present recording is a digital remaster of the originally recording.

Domino Figures for 10 – 100 guitars (1979) was inspired by and dedicated to the Danish guitarist Erling Møldrup. The piece can be performed by any number of guitarists from ten to one hundred, and despite the unusual ensemble required for performance, Domino Figures has been widely performed since it was composed in 1979, including a television production with 105 guitarists, produced to celebrate the 5th anniversary of Denmark’s TV2: a record-breaking performances that found its way into the Guiness book of records!

Domino Figures is a strict canon constructed around 97 different musical figures. The performers sit in a semicircle, and each musical figure is passed around this semicircle in a kind of slow chain reaction similar to that of falling dominoes by means of a unique system of visual cues. The guitarist on the audience’s extreme left begins playing the first figure, signaling the player to the left by dipping the neck of the guitar slightly. The second player then waits one beat after receiving this signal before beginning the same figure and signaling the next player. In this way the musical figure is sent around the semicircle, each guitarist beginning one beat after the player to his or her immediate right. Any given figure reaches the last guitarist about 36 seconds after the first guitarist has set the new figure moving around the semicircle. New figures are combined with previous figures while they are in the process of replacing them.

A sonic effect not usually associated with the guitar is created by the large number of guitarists performing the same figures in different tempi. Massive, sustained, almost choral textures are produced. These textures evolve and slowly change, creating a spatial effect as elements gradually move from one side of the semicircle to the other.

Voices Recurrent (1980) for cello and delays uses delay techniques similar to Autumn Resonance. The cello is amplified using a microphone, and the sound is delayed electronically using two delays with different delay times. The first delay is heard through the left speaker and the second delay is heard through the right speaker. The result is the sound of three cellos playing in a very close three-voice canon. The cello part is intertwined with the delays creating a virtuoso cello trio performing at 16 beats per second

Voices Recurrent was commissioned by Morten Zeuthen with support from the Danish Arts Foundation. Morten Zeuthen has played a central role in Danish musical life as a soloist, as a member of the legendary Kontra Quartet, as principal cellist in the Danish Radio Orchestra and as professor at the Royal Academy of Music in Copenhagen.

Music for 21 Clarinets (1980) is a sister work to Dominio Figures. Like in Domino Figures, musical figure are sent around a semicircle, each clarinettist beginning one beat after the player to his or her immediate right. New figures are combined with previous figures while they are in the process of replacing them.

The present recording was produced using a 24-track tape recorder, with Hans Christian Bræin playing all 21 parts. Hans Christian Bræin has performed widely both as a soloist and as a member of the Oslo Philharmonic, the Esbjerg Ensemble in Denmark, the Oslo Sinfonietta and the Cikada Ensemble.