For my last solo programme, Goebbels/Glass/Radigue, I adapted Two Pages by Philip Glass. It was the first time I had tackled a piece of minimalist or repetitive music. This type of music requires the sustained repetition of short musical patterns. The bagpipes lend themselves particularly well to the exercise, thanks to the continuous breath provided by the bag. What’s more, this music is based on a sort of enchantment generated by continuity, and is the very reason for the existence of the bagpipes’ drone. So, the pipes are the ideal platform for this type of music, as long as a piece can be found that they’re capable of playing.
Terry Riley is one of the leading figures of American minimalist music. In C is considered by some to be the starting point of American minimalism. When it comes to In C, we can think of it as repertoire, given how well known it is and how regularly it is performed. At any rate, that’s one reason for my interest in staging this production: because of how well known it is, and how often it is performed, it should be performed by pipers.
In C is composed of 53 patterns which the musicians link together by repeating each element the desired number of times. My intention is to allow a degree of freedom to each player whilst arranging “meet-ups” which will allow me to link the ensemble together – a sort of ordering from me on its interpretation. This ordering will allow movement between the instruments to unfold around the audience, creating tension or release, enveloping or breaking apart.
The programme will be able to be staged outside (in urban or natural spaces) in daylight, but also in indoor venues or at night. We will commission lighting design by Yves Godin, with whom I’ve already collaborated on the lighting for the Goebbels/Glass/Radigue programme.