For Baroque Violin, Baroque Viola, Double-Bass and Electronic patch

Duration: 10 minutes

Commissioned by: Forte Festival Cork

I had been mucking around for ages with a Max MSP patch which is constantly recording the sound into a buffer and then randomly re-plays fragments of it in different speeds and pitches at times generated by random numbers. It made me start to wonder how it would work with string instruments, which were also playing Fragments.

So I started to think a lot about the world of ‘early music’ or ‘baroque’ that I am so involved with, and some people’s rather conservative take that we must play the music in an ‘authentic’ way – when actually all we have are fragments, of scores, letters and instruments – so we don’t know much more about authenticity than that.

I wrote a Trio Sonata that uses fragments – each player gets 8 fragments. The bass player plays through all 8 in order. The other two can choose when and where they play them, only playing the number they are on, or ones before that. The bass player chooses how long to keep repeating their fragment, before initiating a general pause. The max patch is listening and responding. Gradually we get to see a much more rich picture of life, as the fragments all around us intertwine and reiterate what each other is saying.

Justin Grounds – baroque violin, Marja Gaynor – baroque viola, Conrad Good – double basstrio sonata gang