A Brief History of Acceleration

for clarinet, violin, viola, 'cello, piano
By Douglas Boyce

My time with the ensemble also helped me to develop an approach to music which focused on the experience of music rather than traces of music, on the performance and the performer rather than a score or a recording. Inevitably my engagement with the WJE and the apparatuses of musicking moved my practice on– any technical system contains within it an inescapable tendency for change. Though the aesthetic distance between my work and the aesthetics of the WJE seemed to grow, my work increasingly evidenced efforts to reproduce the character of partnership and communitarianism that my experience with WJE embodied. The aleatory and tychism of all music of the last decade is an echo of those jazz based but not bounded experiments. This chamber version of the work has been created specifically for c)i’s upcoming concert; we were looking for repertoire that would capture c)i’s energy and dynamism while at the same time being a bit of a party piece. It also struck me as a fun chance to let the c)i performers step out as improvisors in a way that doesn’t happen that often in our concerts. “The acceleration of the title evokes multiple changes in speed – the expressive accelerando and ritardando of performance, the mechanical acceleration we associate with the power of internal combustion engines, or perhaps the increase of speed that Deleuze, Guattari and Lyotard associate with the economic and technological rationalization of the world. But at root, I intend to evoke the acceleration described in the philosophical work of Steigler and Gille – the personal experience of a technical milieu changing at an ever increasing rate, an experience in which one, as a participant, contributes to and is caught up in that increasing change. This slippage between a controlled fall and a mad rush is to some extent heard in the changes in tempo through out the piece, but mostly through increasing density, activity, and general ferocity. “A Brief History of Acceleration is dedicated to Andy Jaffe, from whom I learned more than can be easily listed or expressed in words.”

Other works by Douglas Boyce:
“Ordnung is heutzutage meistens dort, wo nichts ist. Es ist eine Mangelersheinung. ”
--Bertolt Brecht