Committed to innovative performances and recordings of today’s music, Alarm Will Sound returns to Zankel Hall on April 6. With a reputation for performing demanding music with energetic skill, this wildly inventive group premieres new works by former Battles singer and guitarist Tyondai Braxton, Dublin-based Crash Ensemble founder Donnacha Dennehy, and AWS founding member John Orfe, as well as compositions by David Lang and Charles Wuorinen.
Here, Braxton provides a brief insight into his composition Fly By Wire, a Carnegie Hall commission that receives its world premiere that night.
Fly By Wire is the technology that 1) translates a pilot's manual movements to digitally control modern aircraft, 2) acts as an auto pilot, and 3) is constantly stabilizing the aircraft without the pilot's input. Stabilization through turbulence is something of an apropos description in composing music. For me, it's always a balancing act with the elements I'm working with: not too much, not too little (usually too much) ... having the piece be this, but not this ... wouldn't it be amazing if this happened in order ... shatter this ... all without the piece doing a barrel roll. For instance, there's a sort of mariachi-like section in the middle. Maybe I should counter that with flourished romanticism in the strings later on, paired with some Varèse-ish percussion. Mayday! Mayday!
Also: I'm terrified of flying.
Related: April 6, Alarm Will Sound