Doug Opel


Carving Lorien

for violin and tape

Written: 1999
Duration: 8:00
Instrumentation: violin and tape

Program Notes

Carving Lorien was written for a talented violinist, and good friend of mine, Lorien Benet. The Carving part of the title is an allusion to the 16th-century soggetto cavato or "carved subject", a technique used to generate a musical subject by "carving out" vowels from a sentence, name or word and transforming them into a melody by means of the solmization syllables of the Guidonian hexachord. I applied this method loosely to Lorien's name and came up with the 4-pitch sequence, A-D#-E-B, which I then used to generate a 12-tone row and matrix. The sequence, its row and subsequent relationships are used not only for melodic purposes, but for the determination of rhythmic elements as well.

Most of the sound material for this work is sampled from a live violin. Some factory sounds from the Kurzweil K2500 and K2000 were used for enhancement purposes. Because the pitch sequence is frequently tonal, I incorporated a fair amount of tonal samplings - open string fifths, strummed sixths, triads and seventh chords - and left them virtually unaltered from their original so as to be quite audible. This allowed me to integrate the violin and tape parts using pitch material as a sort of pivot. It also allowed me to deviate from the atonal environment of the row whenever necessary.