Culture no.2 (or, Shoot Like a Film Star) (2007)

  • Instrumentation: pno, pno, perc, performers’ speak­ing voices
  • Duration: Vari­able, 3’00–15’00
  • Performers: Toca Loca: Gre­gory Oh – piano, Simon Dock­ing – piano, Aiyun Huang – percussion
  • Com­mis­sioned by Toca Loca with assis­tance from the Canada Coun­cil for the Arts

Program Notes

This is the middle piece in my Culture series, which is an exploration of the effects that today’s cultural context has on making our music what it is. The text for the piece is taken from a junk e-mail message—certainly among the more recent of literary genres. It attracted me because it is composed entirely of monosyllabic words, with no repetition; a kind of heterogeneous stream that strikes me as contemporary.

The middle section of the piece is indeterminate or open: the performers decide how the musical materials will be presented. This is also something that I take from the Culture theme, because the multiplicity of possibilities, endless variegation, and the impossibility of finding “right” answers seem to me important cultural problems today.