Music for Strings (2020 Remaster)

by Robert Scott Thompson

supported by
Brian Bourassa
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Brian Bourassa A fun and highly interactive work that keeps you guessing as to its musical direction. Kind of like predicting where the pinball will go next or which direction a butterfly will move.
Nexi (1993) 13:42


Remastered: March 30, 2020

FLEXURE for violin duo (1999) - Flexure is my second work specifically dedicated to János Négyesy and Päivikki Nykter, the first being Nexi for violin and viola (1993). Flexure is the property of flexing (bending or folding) of a line, curve, surface or solid. This concept provided the framework for a music which is organized into seven gestural fields which are imbued with musical and temporal qualities inspired by the flexing articulation of lines. The sections present non-repetitive musical materials derived from statistical processes. The technical and musical challenges of the work are a tribute to the significant artistic prowess of the Négyesy-Nykter duo.

SUTRAS for violin solo (1989) - When I undertook to write a violin solo for my friend János Négyesy, I wanted to make as deeply personal a musical statement as possible. As a conceptual basis I chose the yoga sutras of Patanjali, which for me provided the perfect philosophical framework. The musical materials are largely stochastically derived, through the application of various computer algorithms designed to produce monodic structures of varying complexity. Measured silence is an integral aspect of “sonic” materials and is meant to be heard not merely as points of repose, but as active components in the temporal unfolding of the work. Sutras though continuous in sound is comprised of four movements.

NEXI for violin and viola (1993) - This work explores the notions of connection and linkage, both between the two instruments and also within the definition of musical materials and their structured development. Written as a musical celebratory gesture for Päivikki Nykter and János Négyesy, Nexi is concerned with the focal aspects of the duo condition - cooperation, dualistic assimilation, reflexive commentary and mutual support. Nexi is organized into eleven discrete sections but is largely continuous in sound. At the heart of the compositional process lies the utilization of what I refer to as “compositional primitives,” computer programs designed to provide a meaningful technology for the control of the development of musical sound-space. These “primitives” remain equally useful regardless of the context in which they are used and have been applied to a number of works. Musical stochastics are also employed in the development of a syntactical pitch hierarchy.

THE WIND AT BENI MIDAR for six 'celli (1998) - The Wind at Beni Midar was originally composed in the early 1980’s and was subsequently entirely revised in 1989 and editorially revised in 1998. This work is inspired by the short story of the same title from Paul Bowles’ A Hundred Camels in the Courtyard. This book spans four tales of contemporary life in a land where alternative means are sought as a way out of the phenomenological world. The composition itself strains the notion of the phenomenology of time consciousness, as the materials of the work are largely framed in a moment-form scheme. Cast into two large sections, the 25-minute duration is first characterized by fleeting musical structures which emphasize both sound and silence in equal measure. The second part of the work is continuous in overall sound texture yet freely developing an elaborate morphology. Scored for six ‘celli, details of timbre and texture owe much to my work in the field of electroacoustic music. The ‘cello is an instrument of remarkable versatility and the use of a sextet provides superb resources of sound.


released August 2, 2007


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Robert Scott Thompson Atlanta, Georgia

The term musical alchemist best describes modern music composer Robert Scott Thompson. Combining his mastery of the electroacoustic, contemporary instrumental, and avant-garde genres into a swirling cohesive whole, he is an important pioneer on music's new frontier.

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