A E I O U, 2009 (6′)
for Roomful of Teeth (8 voices SATB)
AEIOU was written at Mass MoCA in the summer of 2009, during the first-ever assemblage of Roomful of Teeth. I came up for the second week of their 2-week residency, not knowing what the group was capable of doing — a forgivable sin since the group itself was just beginning to learn their own abilities and capacities. With me, I brought some sketches that I felt could be adapted to whatever sounds I heard the singers produce; these were études of sorts, studies in rhythm and harmony that left a lot of room for different sounds in different places. Once I heard what the group was able to do, I adapted some of these with their varied techniques in mind, creating fully-formed pieces that combined my sketches with the sounds of the ensemble.
AEIOU uses the five basic vowel sounds, in their Spanish configuration, as an ordered set, a “text” of sorts that structures the forward progress of the work, while the sonic landscape is a tapestry of interwoven yodels, throat singing, and straight-tone clarity.
All my works for Roomful of Teeth are extremely challenging and could only be performed by the singers of this incredible ensemble, to whom I give my deepest thanks.