Yo Shakespeare

Love Bead (1997) 10'

Instrumentation: 1(pic).1(ca).0+bcl.0+cbn/1110/sampler.ebgtr.egtr/vn.va.vc; amp

click here to view score

Commissioner: BBC Proms

First Performer: Ensemble Modern, John Adams, conductor, Royal Albert Hall, London, England, 20 July 1997

Program note:

In Love Bead, the ensemble of 13 musicians is divided into two forces that continuously pull and tear at each other and then, like lovers, meet up furiously. The piece is built on a pattern of 25 beats. During the first 20 beats, a low, rumbling cluster of instruments, comprised of electric guitar, trombone, contra-bassoon and bass clarinet, play harsh, industrial rhythms. Simultaneously, a second cluster of keyboard and strings plays blunt, attacking strokes.

The clashing forces come together during the last five beats, closing off the pattern, which then begins again. Love Bead is constructed like a set of beads strung together. As the piece progresses, each "bead" changes slightly, like the rough and jagged wooden "Love Beads" that I used to wear growing up. Love Bead was written for the Frankfurt-based Ensemble Modern.

—Michael Gordon

Love Bead is dedicated to John Adams.

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