Monday 28 February 2011

Garth Knox: Viola Spaces

Garth Knox: Cleverly hidden amongst a group of other musicians (from Jean Francois Charles's site).

Just a quickie, if you head over to Garth Knox's website you'll find a most excellent collection of YouTube videos featuring performances of his Viola Spaces; a set of eight viola studies composed by Knox which explore various extended techniques.

In his own words...
Interpreters of classical music can study technical exercises (scales, arpeggios, finger exercises, etc.) confident in the knowledge that these patterns will be useful in playing classical pieces. Due to the extreme diversity of styles in new music today, it is now more often a case of constructing a new technique to reply to the demands of a new piece. There are however recurring techniques which can be studied, among these the so-called “extended techniques” (usually meaning classical techniques taken a little further). I had the idea to write a series of pieces which explore these techniques.

Each piece (or « space ») concentrates on one specific technique, and exists in a solo version, and in a duo or trio version, the other viola parts using the same techniques, but in a simpler way. In this way, a player can learn the technique on the simpler part, then progress to playing the solo part himself.
Great to see Knox himself perform these pieces and even without the score they're most informative (I'd call them didactic but that seems to be a dirty word these days, wasn't in my day, personally I blame immigrants and violent rap music).

The score is published by Shott and can be purchased here.

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