Paula Matthusen

Notes from the Composer

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

but because without this

Performed by the Dither Electric Guitar Quartet

but because without this (2006/09) for electric guitar quartet is a timbral exploration of the idea of how discrepancies in repetition emerge and, even when unanticipated, seem somehow necessary in retrospect. The piece was originally scored for bluegrass quartet and was later adapted for the Dither Electric Guitar Quartet, who are featured in this excerpt.  Many thanks to Dither, and especially to James Moore, for his frequent support and consultation throughout the writing process for both instrumentations.

but because without this is roughly seven minutes in duration. The recorded excerpt is from the middle segment of the piece (approximately one and a half minutes after the start).


Performed by the orkest de ereprijs; conducted by Wim Boerman.

corpo/cage was originally composed as part of the 2009 Mixed Emotions project, which was coordinated by Generale Oost, orkest de ereprijs, and ArtEZ Dansacademie. The music was developed in collaboration with choreographer Roberto Zappalà, whose ideas sparked many of the initial timbral explorations. The piece examines different ways in which synchronization can emerge across the ensemble and how this may coincide with large-scale shifts in timbre.  Many thanks to orkest de ereprijs, and in particular Wim Boerman, for their support of the development of this piece.

corpo/cage is approximately 15 minutes long, and the recorded excerpt is from the last 5 minutes of the piece.

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Comments [9]

lyj from NYC

In "but because without this," the interaction between timbre and each of melodic characteristics in the context of music gives me lots of sensitivity and I love it very much. Sonorities are interwoven towards each other and yet they keep its own nature. The "corpo/cage" is a very dramatic piece. The way of reaching the shift between different timbre is very provocative. I'd love to hear more and more of her music.

Sep. 06 2010 11:26 PM
Belle from Texas

I love the strong but fleeting notes and the the way they lead into the next sound like they're unravelling a story. Contradictory and beautifully poetic. It excites the imagination.
I cannot wait to hear more.

Jul. 15 2010 03:32 PM
A.J. from Los Angeles

This strikes me as the kind of music for which an excerpt doesn't do full justice; the evolution of the textures feels like something you'd really want as much time and space as possible to appreciate. I'd love to hear more - especially live!

I love corpo/cage; I'm a sucker for this type of contradictory style, where the music is aggressive and insistent, stubbornly restricting itself to the repetition of a basic skeleton, and yet rendered with beautifully shifting textures - both rhythmic and orchestrational - that keep the piece emotionally evolving (and involving). A wonderful piece - I hope to hear it in its entirety some day.

Jul. 06 2010 11:00 PM
eh from nyc

paula's music is affecting and intimate, genuine, poetic, direct, with an exquisite sense of timing
and subtley and quality of slow unfolding that transcends any particular style derivation. she is a gifted and eloquent composer whose works are all part of an ongoing musical conversation with each other and with a larger musical world that often draws from both art and popular cultures.

paula's music is experiential, and stays with a listener long after the listening; and so I especially agree with the previous comment about her music's 'haunting' nature.

Jul. 01 2010 07:49 PM

I'm happy with the mysterious quality of "but because without this." It is good, professional quality mood music. That said, it is nothing more than good professional mood music.

Jun. 28 2010 06:02 PM
Lainie from NYC

Paula's music is great to me because it's consistently touching and surprising. A killer combo! I'd love to hear what she'd do for Orpheus.

Jun. 24 2010 03:13 PM
Kasia from Amsterdam, Netherlands

Skilful and very verstile composer. I enyoy the melancholic beauty of "but because without this"
and the great instrumentational colours in "corpo/cage". More please!

Jun. 24 2010 05:18 AM
ScottB from New York, NY

Haunting, powerful stuff. Matthusen's compositions are intellectually exciting without being brainy and distant. In these pieces, I think she also makes excellent use of the dynamics and range of sounds each ensemble offers her. Totally captured my attention; I'd love to hear the full pieces.

Jun. 23 2010 10:24 PM
Florent from Bordeaux

I am touched by your piece "but because without this" Paula.
I love the pace of it and the way it evolves very naturally.

Jun. 20 2010 02:00 PM

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