Sam Hayden

This composition is the third piece in Hayden’s ‘remnants’ series (the others being for solo contrabass clarinet and solo bass trombone respectively, where low sonorities are an obvious feature in common).remnants IIIcontinues the trend of Hayden’s recent work combining’ spectral’ traditions with algorithmic approaches to composition, using IRCAM’s OpenMusic to generate some of the microtonal pitch structures, metrical partitions and complex rhythmical subdivisions. There is an unstable continuum between the computer-generated scales and quasi-spectral harmonic fields which is constantly evolving. The piece oscillates between dense, energetic polyphonic textures and moments of relative clarity and stillness in a paradoxical form which Hayden conceives as both cyclical and without repetition: similar music is stretched and compressed over and over again, recognisable but different every time. It is unclear whether the cello and piano are in opposition or acting as a single sonic entity, a relationship that is also in a continuous state of flux, especially given that the cello part is microtonal whereas the piano is in conventional 12TET. The computer-generated aspects of the piece were starting points, ‘found objects’ which became largely overwritten during the later, more intuitive stages of Hayden’s compositional process. Nevertheless, ‘remnants’ of these computer-generated elements remain on the surface of the music, perhaps akin to obscure archeological artefacts whose original functions are now mysterious.