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Gosfield: Shattered Apparitions of the Western Wind

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Published on Jul 3, 2013

Performed by Kathleen Supové, composed by Annie Gosfield.
For Piano and Electronics, Movements 3 and 4
"Shattered Apparitions of the Western Wind" is an extended work for piano and electronics in four movements commissioned for Kathleen Supové's "Digital Debussy" program. Imagined as a hallucinatory duet with Claude Debussy and further inspired by Hurricane Sandy, the piece couples Supové's wild playing with distorted fragments of the original prelude, on site recordings of Hurricane Sandy, and lush Debussy harmonies.
I had already chosen to use Debussy's stormy prelude "What the West Wind Saw" (Ce Qu'A Vu Le Vent D'Ouest) as a starting point for this piece, referencing Debussy's untamed and imaginative interpretation of the destructive forces of nature, when the Eastern Seaboard was hit by Hurricane Sandy. After experiencing the power of the storm first hand, I was struck by the wild contrasts that the hurricane left in her wake: some sections of the city were untouched, while adjoining areas suffered total destruction. I used melodic and harmonic elements from the original prelude in small, untouched phrases alongside altered fragments that were seemingly twisted, distorted, and destroyed by the wind to echo these odd contradictions. The electronic backing track is made up entirely of the sounds of piano and wind: altered fragments of the original prelude are coupled with on-site recordings of Hurricane Sandy. I also morphed these two sources electronically to create oddly intertwined hybrid sounds that meld the noisy, crackling energy of the wind with the prelude's tumultuous piano. The piece shifts between the acoustic and electronic realms, contrasting the eerie stillness of the eye of the storm with the violent force of the wind rending everything in its path, creating an electronic counterpart to a windswept landscape. Composed for Kathleen Supové, the piece is driven by her unique approach to the piano, her mad energy, her dramatic, virtuosic style, and the notion of this dynamic pianist duetting with a ghostly rendition of Debussy's interpretation of universally destructive forces.

"Shattered Apparitions of the Western Wind" was commissioned as part of a national series of works from NEW MUSIC USA's Commissioning Music/USA program, which is made possible by generous support from the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, the Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Helen F. Whitaker Fund."
Thanks to Michael Raphael, field recordist of "Rabbit Ears Audio", for the recordings of Hurricane Sandy.

  • Category

  • Song

    • Part III
  • Artist

    • Kathleen Supové
  • Album

    • The Debussy Effect
  • Licensed to YouTube by

    • NaxosofAmerica (on behalf of New Focus Recordings)
  • Song

    • Part IV
  • Artist

    • Kathleen Supové
  • Album

    • The Debussy Effect
  • Licensed to YouTube by

    • NaxosofAmerica (on behalf of New Focus Recordings)

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