The title “Vgf” is an abbreviation that I derived from the word vogelfrei. I rediscovered this word as it was used in an article written by a colleague and close friend of mine, Scott Gleason. In his evocations of the word, for example, “Within a home that is no home,” and “Free as in liberated, but also free as in without rights,” I sensed a dramatic moment of the semiotic shift, where the familiar words were accorded significations that were opposite of my understanding of them. It was a moment of destabilization; familiar words are rendered impermanent and fragile.
In my Vgf series I am interested in the interplay of perceptions. Taking the implications of potential paradox and double valence of the word vogelfrei as hints, I sought to explore various diametrical relationships in this piece: similarity/dissimilarity, native/foreignness, and familiarity/unfamiliarity.
Furthermore, the idea behind the musical form of this work was brought about in part by a comment I received from a composer-colleague of mine, Stefan Beyer. After listening to my recent work for duo of tenor recorder and shakuhachi, he felt that the piece could have easily been longer, further exhausting the musical materials I used in that piece. The present piece is a reflection on that notion.
Commissioned by Rainy Days Festival 2017, this work is dedicated to Lydia Rilling, conductor Emilio Pomàrico, and the musicians of Klangforum Wien.
Performance History11/19/2017 WP
Emilio Pomàrico, cond.
Salle de Musique de Chambre, Philharmonie Luxembourg
Rainy Days Festival 2017