Daniel Wohl

Notes from the Composer

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

+ou-

Performed by Transit

Scored for bass clarinet, piano, cello, percussion and electronics, the initial concept for +ou- (pronounced "plus ou moins") was to compose music that would be heard through a veil of noise. The idea came from waking up in the middle of the night with the television set turned to a nonworking channel. The screen was mostly filled with black and white static, except for a faded image of what looked like an old couple dancing. The image would come in strongly and then recede into the static

Glitch

Performed by Chris Otto, John Pickford Richards, Andie Springer and Evelyn Farny.

A glitch is a short-lived fault in a system. All audio mediums inherently contain glitches that are interesting in their own ways. To me they are happy accidents, flaws that take on special meaning or interest. The hiss and pops of vinyl records, the skips on a scratched CD, and mp3 compression errors are glitches that have become emblematic of each medium, and have come to represent an era in music. In the age of mechanical reproduction, a player’s mistake on an acoustic instrument such as a tiny variation in pitch, an inconsistency in bowing, or an accidental scratch in the midst of an otherwise “normal’ playing style can now read as a glitch. It’s interesting to me that these mistakes have made their way into the standard repertoire in the last century and have come to be called extended techniques. This tendency has also appeared in the glitch style of electronic music by bands such as The Boats and Oval.

Errors form the conceptual basis for this piece. Each movement deals with a different kind of glitch in the electronic track. The electronics consist entirely of manipulated string recordings, while the string quartet plays its share of intentional pops, hisses, fragmentary melodic motifs and other inconsistencies that comment on or reflect back to the electronics track.
In my own composing, accidents have often led to interesting results. Crucial moments have arrived in the form of mistakes that I’ve then tried to mold into coherent structures.

A glitch is a short-lived fault in a system. All audio mediums inherently contain glitches that are interesting in their own ways. To me they are happy accidents, flaws that take on special meaning or interest. The hiss and pops of vinyl records, the skips on a scratched CD, and mp3 compression errors are glitches that have become emblematic of each medium, and have come to represent an era in music. In the age of mechanical reproduction, a player’s mistake on an acoustic instrument such as a tiny variation in pitch, an inconsistency in bowing, or an accidental scratch in the midst of an otherwise “normal’ playing style can now read as a glitch. It’s interesting to me that these mistakes have made their way into the standard repertoire in the last century and have come to be called extended techniques. This tendency has also appeared in the glitch style of electronic music by bands such as The Boats and Oval.Errors form the conceptual basis for this piece. Each movement deals with a different kind of glitch in the electronic track. The electronics consist entirely of manipulated string recordings, while the string quartet plays its share of intentional pops, hisses, fragmentary melodic motifs and other inconsistencies that comment on or reflect back to the electronics track.In my own composing, accidents have often led to interesting results. Crucial moments have arrived in the form of mistakes that I’ve then tried to mold into coherent structures.

Tags:

More in:

The WQXR e-newsletter. Show highlights, links to music news, on-demand concerts, events from The Greene Space and more.

Comments [27]

Reuben from MD

Cool, But not my type

Aug. 19 2010 08:44 AM
annick mancone

Daniel Wohl's music is innovative ! It is deeply personal . He has the sense for musical form, rythm, timber and harmony.
A talented composer that one should evidently encourage

Aug. 14 2010 05:56 PM
Viswa from Houston, TX

I find Daniel's use of instrumental color to be truly incredible. It evokes the sounds of so many cultures without becoming too scattered. I find this music to be quite interesting!

Aug. 10 2010 11:14 PM
Bechara El-Khoury from Paris

I've just discovered Daniel Wohl's music. This young and really talented composer has his own voice and has intelligently written an inspired music. His two pieces+ ou - and Glitch show an original personality , a sense for structure, atmosphère and tension which is gripping.

I hope he will be given the opportunity to write for larger orchestra because I think he's one of the best American composer of his generation.

Aug. 10 2010 02:31 PM
michel bril

beautiful music,imaginative,from a composer who has something to tell.definitly my favorite.

Aug. 06 2010 09:40 AM

I'm lucky to have heard Daniel Wohl's music both live and recorded -- lovely and mesmerizing and intelligent either way!

Aug. 02 2010 09:10 PM
Patti from nyc

Amazing! Go Daniel :)

Aug. 02 2010 05:26 PM
jennifer Choi

Lovely! Add him.

Jul. 12 2010 06:56 PM
ATS from NYC

I love Daniel's music. He has such a distinctive voice, while at the same time his music never sounds repetitive. He is ever evolving, yet always maintaining integrity and creativity. A commission by Daniel Wohl would be a valuable investment for Orpheus!

Jul. 01 2010 10:23 AM
Leigh from NYC

Awesome music. I find myself listening to it over and over...!

Jun. 27 2010 08:25 PM
Robin from New York

I was completely blown away by Daniel's music- the way he builds interesting and beautifully unique sounds is so surprising and refreshing to hear! I can't wait to listen to what he will come up with next, the natural and intuitive quality of his writing makes me believe this is a composer that will be around for a very long time.

Jun. 27 2010 11:37 AM
Jessica from New Jersey

I've really enjoyed his music in all of the concerts I've attended. His music is unique and he definitely has his own voice in contemporary music today. Good luck, Daniel!

Jun. 27 2010 10:23 AM
Joe from NJ

The creativity in Wohl's writing is exactly what classical music today needs... I love it!

Really Imaginative!

Jun. 27 2010 10:10 AM
Marcy from Boston

This is beautiful and stunning music. I would love to hear Wohl's orchestral output, and I wish him all the best! I have a feeling we're going to be hearing much more from this young promising composer!

Jun. 27 2010 09:02 AM
Sarah from NYC

Both of these pieces use relatively small ensembles but the resulting palette of tones, colors and textures is amazingly vast. I would love to see what this composer could do with a whole orchestra at his disposal.

Jun. 26 2010 04:35 PM
Victor Goldberg from Israel

Daniel Wohl is one of the most original composers of our time. Not only his music is skillfully written, it also accumulates an extraordinary communicative power. It is a complex and moving music that deserves to be heard globally. I fully endorse Daniel, and wish him a lot of success.

Jun. 26 2010 02:19 PM
Ansoni from New York

By taking pieces of wildly structures and then scattering them amongst growing layers of various instruments, this composer succeeds in creating conceptual pieces that are still completely accessible to all listeners.

Jun. 23 2010 10:42 PM
David from Los Angeles

not only is this well-written from a compositional standpoint, but what's refreshing about Wohl's work is that it forces a contemporary examination on classical style; it feels "new" because it is... bravo! Well done.

Jun. 23 2010 02:41 PM
Rejeange Christel from new york

Really beautiful.....

A lot of talent...Really....

Keep going Daniel....

Jun. 23 2010 04:29 AM
Kevin from California

Wohl's "+ou-" composition is incredible! It does a wonderful job of capturing the strange, disorienting, and almost mystical experience of waking up to a fuzzy screen with an enigmatic image that fades in and out of the background. The piece leaves me feeling as though I have fallen into an episode of the "Twilight Zone"- a truly whimsical and surreal experience!

Jun. 22 2010 07:01 PM
Leland Cahill from Vancouver, BC

Wohl's music, especially the masterpiece "Glitch", is the gateway to understanding what contemporary composition is all about. The rhythm patterns and ceaseless movement characterizes molecular science where matter is always in unpredictable motion. Wohl does a tremendous job of conveying this notion to his auditors and increasingly takes artistic creativity to a whole new level.

Jun. 22 2010 09:29 AM
vanessa ackerman from paris

This is magical! Absolutely beautiful and inspiring music. very moving..

Jun. 22 2010 02:38 AM
Anne

Glitch feels so cinematographic. a very full

Jun. 21 2010 09:54 PM
Anne from Beijing, China

I love +ou- (great name by the way)

very visual music. I can see the veil the composer speaks of, and feel the effort of sound trying to penetrate a barrier. the music reminds me of forest walks, and dives into impromptu lakes.

I also like the music because it has a child's fascination for sound and a fearlessness.

Jun. 21 2010 09:52 PM
Ringo from Paris

I came upon this competition and was immediately mesmerized by this piece by Daniel. The music is a sublime blend of classical undertones of nostalgia (like a lamenting voice) with these abrupt and staccato sparks of interference and white noise. It reminds me of the amount of noise and techno-frenzy we are surrounded by in our daily lives. I was very moved by the piece and I wil keep my eye and ears out for Daniel Wohl and the Transit ensemble.
bravo.

Jun. 21 2010 08:22 PM
blue from nyc

I am a big fan of this! As someone who cares deeply about music, I think it's great that the younger generation of composers seems to be determined to write music that embraces contemporary culture and does not turn its nose up at all but the academic elite. I think the resurgence of interest in 'new music' among a wider swath of listeners is a direct result of this new outlook. By writing music that is relatable but doesn't dumb down, I think Daniel Wohl has hit the nail on the head. Throw open the doors to the Ivory Tower!

Jun. 21 2010 07:05 PM
jz

This is amazing music!

Jun. 21 2010 06:46 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Follow WQXR 

Sponsored

Feeds