Commissioned by Mary Artmann
FIrst performance: Berkeley, CA, 1988 - Mary Artmann, cello; William Winant and Danny Tunick, marimba
Recording: Animal Act (CRI), 1993 - Evan Ziporyn, bass clarinet; William Winant and Danny Tunick, marimba
WHAT SHE SAW THERE was written in Indonesia in the fall of 1987. I was at that time listening to a lot of epic songs in languages I didn't understand, such as Mandarin, Swahili, and Balinese. This piece attempts to evoke a feeling of abstracted narrative, to tell a tale about an unspecified, incomprehensible place, in an equally slippery language. In the process, many semi-recognizable musical styles with which I am familiar get "retold". The original version was for cello and was the first piece I was ever paid to compose ($300, immediately spent on the miniature Casio keyboard I used to write it). The bass clarinet version, consequently, calls for the constant use of multiphonics and extended techniques.