Glenn Stallcop Composer, Performer
A Wake at Night (1993)
For nine strings (4-2-2-1) or string orchestra
1 Mvt., 13 Mins.
A Wake at Night is available here from American Composers Alliance.
Program Notes with Video Score
A WAKE AT NIGHT was a work developed from two years of study with Chinary Ung. I had decided I needed a creative shot in the arm, and Chinary’s music had the quality I was looking for. Fortunately, at the time, he was on the faculty of Arizona State University near my home. Chinary led me on a soul searching expedition which found me turning again to improvisation for inspiration. A WAKE AT NIGHT was the first flowering of these efforts.
In this work I took a melodic improvisation, stretched it and used it as a source of compositional material for the entire work. Important for me at the time was that the sequence of the improvisation was kept intact. The work which grew from the improvisation kept its note-to-note intuitive inspiration, while at the same time generating all of its own accompanying material.
The title refers to many things, but mostly it refers to the image of a boat slipping through the water at night churning up a shimmering phosphorescent wake. The improvisation is the boat, and all the generated “accompanying” material is the shimmering wake. The derived material often ends up overshadowing the original. The hybrid process involved in this work inspired my composition for over a decade, and also reinvigorated my improvisation.