John Luther Adams — Red Arc/Blue Veil

piano, percussion (vibraphone and crotales), and sound file

Red Arc/Blue Veil (2001) is the first piece in a projected cycle exploring the geometry of time and color—what Kandinsky called “those inner sounds that are the life of the colors”.

As in all of my recent music, I imagine the entire ensemble (piano, percussion, and processed sounds) as a single instrument, and the entire piece as a single complex sonority. The processed sounds are derived directly from the acoustical instruments. … In Red Arc/Blue Veil, the electronic sounds are layered in tempo relationships of 3, 5 and 7, while the piano and mallet percussion trace a single arc, rising and falling from beginning to end.

Red Arc/Blue Veil was commissioned and premiered by Ensemble Sirius.

-John Luther Adams

-Annotated by Noah Rosen