21st Century Oboe
Christopher Redgate & the Howarth-Redgate Oboe
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Sam Hayden surface/tension for oboe and piano or oboe and small ensemble.

photo: Simone Tarsitani 

Programme note by Sam Hayden:
 ‘surface / tension’ (2012) for solo oboe and piano was composed in close collaboration with Christopher Redgate, as part of his AHRC funded project New Music for a New Oboe. The piece also exists in a version for solo oboe and ensemble, which will be premiered at the 2012 HCMF. The piece evolved from a dialectical relationship between the unique sonic possibilities inherent in new Redgate-Howarth oboe and computer-generated notation using IRCAM’s OpenMusic. In particular, the underlying material for this piece was the product of two distinct (pre)compositional strategies, yielding two different kinds of ‘found objects’, which became the starting points for the piece. The spectral analysis of multiphonics unique to the instrument was used to generate microtonal pitch fields. In addition, artificial spectra and complex rhythmical structures were generated algorithmically by the computer, and then chosen by the composer. These strategies shaped directly both the notation of the material and approach to form, taking the piece in directions unanticipated by the composer. As a result, the piece constantly oscillates between rapid, energetic and hyper-virtuosic gestural materials and moments of relative stasis (or various intermediate states), but never entirely settling one way or the other. The oboe and piano are also in constant dialogue, at once asserting their individual autonomy and inseparability, whilst constantly reassessing their roles, a tension that is never really resolved as the sonic surfaces ebb and flow, coalesce and decompose. There is the sense of an endless permutational revisiting of similar materials, although paradoxically, there is no literal repetition in the piece.

Sam Hayden - August 9 2012

Premier performances:Oboe and piano version: 27th July 2012 - Schott's Music Room. Christopher Redgate - oboe, Stephen Robbings Piano.Oboe and ensemble version: 18.11.2012 -  Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival - Christopher Redgate - Oboe, Ensemble Cikada, 

BBC Broadcast of the live Huddersfield performance: 29.12.2012
Recording - forthcoming New Music for a New Oboe Vol.2
Sam Hayden has also written Recoil for Oboe and percussion which I have recorded on Oboe +:Berio and beyond on the Oboe Classics label.