Frame by Christopher Butterfield

February 15, 2013 at the Array Space

The Array Ensemble:

Rick Sacks – conductor
Stephen Clarke – piano
Colleen Cooke – clarinet
Blair Mackay – percussion
Anita McAllister – trumpet
Lydia Munchinsky – cello
James Pugliese – percussion
Adam Scime – double bass
Rebecca Van Der Post – violin

Christopher Butterfield lives in Victoria BC, where he teaches in the
School of Music. In February 2012 he travelled to the Netherlands, where
he was a judge for the Gaudeamus International Composers Award, and a
mentor at the Young Composers Meeting Œde Ereprijs¹. In May he was the
mentor for the annual Arraymusic Young Composers Workshop. That same month
Continuum Contemporary Music performed his complete ‘Contes pour enfants
pas sages’ here in Toronto. In August he was a mentor at the first annual
Undergraduate Composers Kitchen in Vancouver with Quatuor Bozzini. In
November he coordinated a festival for John Cage¹s 100th anniversary with
the Victoria Symphony, Open Space and UVic, and curated an exhibition
around John Cage at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. Future projects
include composing new works for Aventa Ensemble with Rick Sacks, and
Quatuor Bozzini; translating ‘Théatre’ by Paris Dada Georges
Ribemont-Dessaignes; and trying to stay devoted to long-term projects.

‘Frame’ is composed around a found object, a sketch for piano I wrote
sometime in the last few years, but had never done anything with.
Attending rehearsals of Cage’s ‘Ryoanji’ this past fall, I heard the term
‘Korean unison’ for the first time. This indicates an attack on a note by
players that is more or less in unison, but because not exactly
simultaneous, results in a kind of heterophony. The idea of inexact unison
is an attractive one – I had thought to use a graphic notation in my
attempt to convey this to the ensemble, but opted for an extremely precise
metered notation instead, which I hoped would result, paradoxically, in a
greater sense of spontaneity. The piano sketch, then, is used as the
armature for a lattice of attacks. It is played three times, forming a
triptych. There is also a drum solo in the third part, which is there
simply as a gift to Jim Pugliese. ‘Frame’ is dedicated to Rick Sacks and
Jim Pugliese, and Arraymusic.

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