A Villa in the Jungle
Instrumentation: Piano, Flute, Bass Clarinet, Violin and Cello
First performance by Meitar Ensmble - 15.12.2014, Contemporary music center, the Israeli conservatory, Tel Aviv (Israel)
This piece was originally composed for a concert program using John Cage and Domenico Scarlatti's keyboard works. Both pieces are connected in their complexity of perceptions in terms of "normality". Scarlatti's keyboard sonatas always include elements that are completely outside the context of the musical mainstream of the time. Elements from spanish folk music, extreme harmonic situations, as well as "inappropriate" repetitions that imply a sort of obsession, position Scarlatti's work outside the norms of the 18th century music. However, in another layer of "normality" all these elements connect to a much more primary and visceral truth of human existence. It seems that in this layer Scarlatti's works are "normal" and the canonic music of the time is artificial "abnormal" human expression. When looking at the score of Cage's sonatas for prepared piano, they seem quite usual at first glance. His visionary idea was the preparation of the piano. The placement of different objects on the piano strings results in a completely surprising non-piano sound. Here again, listening in another layer of "normality", the refined piano sounds are reverted to a set of primal sounds that may seem as more "natural" or "human". I observed these connections during my stay in Tel Aviv last summer when I started working on the piece. As I sat in a cozy Café in the trendy neighborhood Florentin, rockets were intercepted in the sky overhead and the same questions in regard to "normality" ran through my mind. The question of "normality" of the "Villa" juxtaposed with "normality" of "Jungle" and its inhabitants seemed more complicated than ever before. In the new piece I've tried to address that issue by creating such paradoxical situations - the most banal musical materials are those that challenge the norms within the piece.