beyond the accident of time – percussion and voices (2019)
This work honors Isamu Noguchi’s never fully-realized Bell Tower for Hiroshima, 1950 (partially reconstructed 1986). The original bell used for the first movement is Noguchi’s Bell Image (1956–57). The original bells used in the last movement are custom-made oversized sleigh bells—Slay Bells by Adam Morford of Morfbeats—two 5”, two 4” and one 3” in diameter.
The premiere was part of a concert in celebration of the exhibition Changing and Unchanging Things: Noguchi and Hasegawa in Postwar Japan. As a whole, the works on the concert titled Changing and Unchanging Sound, considered being open or closed, amplifying the sentiment of Noguchi and Hasegawa’s conversations about cultural exchanges. In working through sonic and visual forms of how things break up and how they’re put back together, the works on the concert all explore questions about what it is to be human, living in uncertainty and growing after destruction.
This score was created for the premiere to give the performers specific guidelines for the bells chosen for this musical reconstruction. Noguchi imagined the bells for Bell Tower for Hiroshima coming from all over the world. In my piece, I interpret the sculpture not as a physical object that would be built in Hiroshima, but as a sonic concept that could be recreated by bells around the world. As we listen and recreate this space for reflection, we honor and remember what the sculpture represents. This score is only a starting point.
Premiered June 13, 2019 at The Noguchi Museum, Long Island City, New York by Argus Quartet, Johanna Lundy, and Lanzilotti. Special thanks to the museum staff for their ongoing support and generosity in letting us work with Noguchi’s sculptures as sound objects. Photos by Don Stahl.
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