Richard Carrick

Notes from the Composer

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Find the Devils Lead

Performed by the Wet Ink Ensemble with Kate Soper, soprano; Carl Betterdorf, conductor.


One morning, I received a spammed email message from an unknown source containing a wonderful yet incomprehensible mix-up of phrases from the 17th to 19th Centuries. It begins, “Find the devil’s lead, I am going to take him, home. Here was a man, handsome enough to keep you occupied for hours on end.” The text is meaningless: full of disjointed juxtapositions of unfinished phrases (possibly by George Sands and others), yet quite seductive in its implications. Each unresolved phrase became important in implying a larger story that wasn't there.

I derived my own meta-story to this text, involving a woman who finds the devil's lead and takes the devil home. She is as seductive, tricky, and otherworldly as the devil himself. She sets out to beat the devil at his own game! It is a story that traverses time and place. She finds the devil in the little details of everyday life, and is able to put the devil in his place without being seduced by him.

To best emphasize the implications of the text over and above the disjoined words, I set the music as a continuous and strikingly linear expression, allowing the text to shade the musical experience instead of lead it.

à cause du soleil Flow Trio

Performed by Kuan Cheng Lu-violin, Dov Scheindlin-viola, Eric Bartlett-cello.

"á cause du soleil" Flow Trio is the culminating work in my hour-long The Flow Cycle for Strings, which is influenced by Islamic Mosaics, Gnawa music of Morocco, Albert Camus' L'Étranger, and the Flow concept of Csíkszentmihályi. This trio expands my interest in creating musical flow from Islamic mosaic art by incorporating a larger narrative set in North Africa.

"á cause du soleil" refers to Albert Camus' L'Étranger, the pithy justification given for the protagonist Meursault's impulsive actions, which unleash a series of unforeseen consequences. Although absurdist by design, Camus' linearity of thought in this work helped reconfigure the flow as a final common pathway for the three instruments as a unified meta-instrument, where the range of tenuous and tenacious sounds and melodies introduced throughout the Cycle synthesize and deconstruct in the finale.

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Comments [17]

Peter Nigrini from New York

My insight into Richards music comes from a visual perspective, we collaborated several years ago on a commission for the Sequitur Ensemble, for chamber ensemble and video (the video being my contribution). I think that what each of us found most exhilarating was the open exchange of ideas. It is this willingness to encounter the new and unfamiliar that I find to be always present in Rick's composition. I am sure he would bring the same sense of the frontier to a commission from Orpheus.

Jul. 19 2010 12:09 PM
James Michels from new york

intriguing and provocative

Jul. 14 2010 10:16 AM
Professor Sir David Cannadine from Princeton University

Richard Carrick is a powerful, original and innovative composer on the modern musical scene. His work is by turns engaging, disturbing, profound and exhilarating. He would be an outstanbding choice,m and I can neithger praise nor recommend him too highly.

Jul. 14 2010 08:56 AM
Andrew R from New York

Richard Carrick's music is moving, effective, and interesting, and unpredictable. Richard is also one of the nicest guys to work with.

Jul. 14 2010 02:57 AM
Nathalie from San Diego

Richard's music grabs the listener immediately and energizes the audience. I always go to see his music performed live.

Jul. 13 2010 02:01 PM
Jo Honigmann from London

Richard's music is innovative, provocative, witty, challenging yet always engaging and enormously exciting from an audience - and I am sure also a player - perspective. I would love to see an Orpheus / Carrick collaboration.

Jul. 13 2010 04:59 AM
jon deak

Richard Carrick's music is thoughtful, inventive and clearly communicates. His Flow Cycle is quite successful, and I think he'd represent Orpheus exceedingly well.

Jul. 13 2010 04:30 AM
Jennifer Choi

Wonderful! I think Richard's music would be an excellent compliment to Orpheus' repertoire.

Jul. 12 2010 06:55 PM
Becky Morrison

Richard Carrick's work is refreshingly original. I absolutely love it!

Jul. 11 2010 11:34 PM
Conrad Cummings from West 23rd Street

Richard Carrick's music has been this year's major discovery for me. His Flow Cycle, performed complete for the first time this spring, was a model of invention, personality, rigor, balance, and fire. In a span of over an hour, it held my attention, my expectation, my curiosity, and my surprise without flagging for a moment. It's plenty complex, and as Richard has said, complexity does not have to mean unintelligibility. I felt like I was following a fast, imaginative mind on a long journey of exploration, a mind articulated with great directness, simplicity, and honesty. The smartest people I have know are the ones who clan express complicated ideas in strikingly clear language. Think of Stephen Jay Gould for instance. Richard Carrick's music has that kind of clarity, challenge, and humanity.

Jul. 11 2010 05:18 PM
Guy Rodwell from Paris, France

Haunting, deeply evocative.

Jul. 10 2010 05:29 AM
David Wallace from NY, NY

Richard Carrick is a truly original voice. He's one of the few composers I know who can invent completely new compositional systems that can also aesthetically and emotionally engage diverse audiences. Given his mastery of form, scale, and proportion, I believe he would present Orpheus with a compelling work of lasting value.

Jul. 09 2010 10:18 AM
ATS from NYC

I think Richard has many great ideas, and he is a pleasure to work with!

Jul. 01 2010 10:11 AM
Aaron from NYC

à cause du soleil Flow Trio is invigorating

Jun. 30 2010 10:57 PM

Ah, my previous comment refers to: Find the Devils Lead

Jun. 28 2010 05:58 PM

This was well put together in a totally un-put-together way. Interesting.

Jun. 28 2010 05:57 PM
Alice Teyssier from Freiburg, Germany

Fascinating excerpts... From what I have heard from and about Richard Carrick, I would myself be very interested in commissioning and collaborating with him.

Jun. 22 2010 09:10 AM

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