Deconstruction can be defined in two ways: first as a literary theory (made famous by Jaqcues Derrida) which claims that a word does not have just one meaning and that all meaning depends on its relationship to all that has come before; and second as the selective dismantlement of building components, specifically for re-use, repurposing, and recycling. High Efficiency engages these definitions with three staged musical compositions that tackle interpretations of deconstruction through process and abstraction.
9 numbers (2017) by Jason Treuting ~ 20 min
unchained melody (2004) by David Lang ~ 8 min
Thoreau’s Desk (requires some assembly) (2015) by Michael Mercil ~ 30 min
Treuting - 9 numbers
Composer/performer/improviser Jason Treuting enjoys making pieces that translate numbers and letters into patterns of sound. In this commissioned piece for Tigue, Treuting squeezes a multitude of processes from a single sudoku puzzle crafting a three movement work for a tiny band of electric bass, toy piano and snare drum. Throughout the piece the instruments are reimagined — eventually deconstructed — and performed in pieces.
Lang - unchained melody
I like the idea of a tune with complications. in unchained melody i imaine that the glockenspiel is in the background, as if the tune is the resonant byproduct of a more relentless foreground of noisy accents. The overall set-up should be tightly focused - it is not meant to be an expansive piece. the nasty metal is the only note that is not doubled by a noise or a pitch. when it enters it should be scary, and it may be played by either hand, or broken up between the hands. In Tigue's arrangement, the noisy accents are played on deconstructed appliances where the each percussion player's "sculpture" is the abstract byproduct of its previous object.
Mercil - Throeau's Desk (requires some assembly)
is a music composition for percussion trio and two speaking accompanists. Its instrumentation includes tools and materials for building an abstraction of Henry David Thoreau's writing desk. When construction is complete the music stops. On each occasion the piece is performed, a new object is built as material expression of time's signature.
The work is inspired by the chapter in Walden devoted to “Sounds," wherein Thoreau sets his household furnishings “out on the grass,” and “They seemed . . . as if unwilling to be brought back in.” Other sources include Water Walk, which composer John Cage performed in 1960 before a live audience for the popular American television show, “I’ve Got a Secret.” Yet another precedent includes the modernist Dutch architect Gerrit Rietveld’s 1934 writing desk built of shipping crate materials. The object produced by the musicians performing Thoreau’s Desk (requires some assembly) appears no closer to such models, however, than Picasso’s 1915 Violin resembles the musical instrument that inspired it.