elemental etudes (2004)




elemental etudes - recorded by ensemble pamplemousse, nyc, 2004

air contour

air contour by Peter Kohler


In my search for structures that could be presented in expressive musical composition, I discovered the cycle of basic elements that are integral to astrological archetypes.  While looking at the relationships between them and the direction they take, I realized that I could superimpose almost any story or development on them and see the conceptual evolution from potential energy (prelude & water), igniting into kinetic energy (fire), taking shape (earth), releasing and expanding (air) into dissolution and absorption (water) back into potential energy.

While the piece as a whole works as an independent musical structure, it simultaneously implies multiple storylines.  For instance, the birth of the universe: the potential energy of a single point exploding into the big bang (fire), gradually forming structures of mass (earth) that fly through space and then form atmospheres (air) that condense and reform as oceans (water) where life begins (fire) and forms biological structures (earth), learns to breath (air) and is primarily liquid (water), which creates new life (fire), which learns psychological structure from it’s parents (earth) and then leaves home in search of knowledge (air), either fights against or flows with life’s current (water), has an idea and acts on it (fire), creates something (earth), holds it up to show the others (air) and then absorbs the knowledge gained (water) and repeats eventually ending with some sort of merging (water).

instrumentation: 2 violins, viola, violoncello & drumset
duration: ca. 15'
download score: elemental_etudes.pdf (3.22 MB)