AUTUMN RAIN IN THE YARD (2006)
CD results from the confluence of accident, documentation, and
reflection. I sat my 17 month-old daughter in front of the piano
without any expectations of what would happen. What she began to
play was so extraordinary, I ran to get my video camera to record
it. She played in the high and low registers of the
instrument. She played clusters, single notes and little
melodies. She played fast and slow, loud and soft.
Sometimes she paused to interject spontaneous vocalizations.
I took the audio from the camera, recorded it into my computer, and
created new pieces entirely from her recorded improvisation. The
spirit of my daughter’s improvisation inspired me to be as
playful with my manipulations. Composition for me is always an
intuitive process of discovery, not a means to express an intentional
idea. Everything from drones to sparkling clouds of chatter came
out of my unpremeditated experiments. Portions of her
performance, only slightly edited for timing, emerge in most of the
pieces as the primary melodic element.
My daughter was abandoned as an infant in China and was adopted by my
wife and I at the age of 10 ½ months. The orphanage
gave her the name, Qiu Yu Yuan – Autumn Rain in the Yard.
Her name is now Mia. This CD is a collaboration on many levels -
of east and west, youth and age, male and female, composer/improviser
and arranger, acoustic and electronic, innocence and experience, father
and daughter. The last track of the CD is the original unedited
recording of Mia’s improvisation. It is included because,
on its own, it exhibits a stunning quality of discovery, and is a
fascinating account of a fresh young mind exploring the world of sound.