The structure and scale of this piece was inspired by the spaces of the Ikon Gallery and the Kunstmuseum in Bonn. The Partenheimer exhibition was to be spread over a number of rooms, so I decided to do the same with the music – 3 ensembles playing in 3 different spaces, but each able to be overheard by the others. This presented me with a few coordination problems, as each ensemble plays at a different speed and I was concerned not to let one ensemble obscure the material of another. Also I decided to write quite different material for each ensemble, only allowing one or two moments when they would come together.
To begin with, I wrote the music of one ensemble from beginning to end, then cut it up and stretched it out to 150% of its length. Then I composed the music of the other two ensembles around this, with long gaps where they didn’t play. In this way I tried not only to avoid filling up the space with sound, but also to draw the listeners from one space to another – to entice them to move around the galleries. The three different ensembles (chosen to give me a maximum contrast of texture and material) also reflects Partenheimer’s use of different media: works on paper, paintings, and sculpture (including ceramics).
…it seemed the fascination was not just to be found within the frames, or in the score in front of the musicians – it was in the air between the artists and the viewer-listener
The Birmingham Post
It is intensely wrought music, rougher-edged than Feldman, and less obsessive, but in its own way, just as compelling
The Partenheimer Project was premiered by BCMG at IKON Gallery, Birmingham on 20 April 2008.