Instrumentation: Bassoon and Electronics
Duration: 10 minutes
Year of Composition: 2017

About the work:

Ssoonro was written at the request of Christoph Wichert and SETTS (Southeastern Ensemble for Today and Tomorrow's Sounds), a contemporary music ensemble in Singapore that focuses on works by Singapore-based and Southeast Asian composers. The work develops its harmonic world from six multiphonics that are incorporated not only as multiphonics but also as harmonic source material derived from each multiphonic's most prevalent overtones. The bassoon's character here is mercurial, switching between aggressive, at times surprising, outbursts and subtle, even delicate ephemeral moments. The electronics are used in ways familiar to my recent pieces; they not only extend the sonic possibilities of the instrument but also mimic those possibilities thorough its own technical means. Mostly, they are an echo chamber of the harmonic material. In the opening, for instance, recordings of each multiphonic were "granularized" - sustained using granular synthesis technique - to produce evolving clouds of sound. In the body of the work, a long reverb is applied to the bassoon to create a harmonic field from its immediate events. The harmonic world of the multiphonics is expanded and mimicked by the electronics through FM synthesis, which is used to create artificial multiphonics around a repeated bassoon note.

The name Ssoonro derives from the words baSSOON and electROnics.


Performance by Christoph Wichert | Recording and Mixing by Peter Ivan Edwards