Note from the composer:
My piece pierced was commissioned by the ensemble Real Quiet – Felix Fan, cello, David Cossin, percussion and Andy Russo, piano - as a concerto for their ensemble and string orchestra. I was trying to imagine a way the soloists and the orchestra could relate to each other that would honor the fact that both the soloists and orchestra were usually separate ensembles. I didn't want the kind of competition that traditional concerti generate, where the heroic individual struggles with society for the supremacy of his or her ideas. I started thinking about how I might make two almost completely separate musical worlds exist at the same time, but in which the musical material from one world would be needed in order to decode the meaning of the other. I imagined, for example, a dissonant, chromatic line in one ensemble and a tonal chord progression in the other – maybe we would perceive the two as related and necessary to each other, but the material in each world would remain distinct. There would be a wall between them – they wouldn’t hear or influence each other but we could hear their separate contributions mixed together. (And it goes without saying that the combination of materials that we hear would have to sound whole.)
The idea I came up with was to imagine a wall that wasn’t completely solid, but was more of a permeable membrane, a kind of filter or fabric between the soloists and the ensemble – most sounds and notes and tunes would stay in their respective worlds but some sounds might be able to pass through easily and virtually unchanged. Because of this image of a fabric separating the musicians I had the idea that at some points the fabric could be pierced, or maybe even ripped, as parts of the material move from one musical grouping to the other.
pierced was premiered 12 June 2007 by Real Quiet and the Munich Chamber Orchestra, Christoph Altstaedt, conductor.