RA for Viola and live electronic (2019-20)

Commissioned by Henri Pousseur à Liége

Title : RA for Viola and live electronic (2019-20)

Patterns  Circular motion Cycle

RA [羅] is a Japanese thin and lucid traditional silk textile. It was introduced to Japan from China in the 4th century.

Shedding, Picking, Battening...using a loom to fix the warp threads, a craftsman produces the fabric by interlacing the weft (filling threads) through them. 

RA [羅] is a kind of net textile which is produced by the repetition of this pattern. The different size of nets are the motives of the textile.

In  "RA", I attempt to replace the patterns which are created by wefts, warps and nets with the sound material.

Long notes or tremolos are the wefts,  Glissandos and scales which are depicted by quick upwards movements are the warps and silence  are the nets.

When these figures are played by viola and intertwined by the live electronic sounds, they produce textures and layers of sound.

In addition to the patterned sound material, the form and gestures using a cycle and circular motion also play a very important role.

Japan has a long history of sericulture. To produce silk, the cultivation of silkworms was developed.

A silkworm is a small and highly domestic insect whose life cycle is rather short. After hatching from an egg, the worms take one month to grow large enough to spin the silk. The silkworm moves its head in figure 8 patterns as it spins the cocoon. They continue this circular motion for almost 3 days to complete their cocoon.

People then boil those cocoons to have silk ... We can say that the benefit of having silk is juxtaposed with the sacrifice of  the silkworms.

That is the reason why people have respected silkworms as a holy creature in the Japanese history of  Sericulture. 

The circular motion that is used to spin by the silkworms, is for me like a metaphor for life chains.

I represent this circular motion by arpeggios with important and gestural sound material. In about 20 minutes, the music progressively and permanently evolves as if it were our life cycle  or the one of a silkworm .

The space which designed by the sound layers will give us the sensation, as if we are surrounded by sound of silk, inside of cocoon.

Cologne, 10.12.2019