Insulae (2019-)

J-T Vesikkala Wittmacher: Insulae (2019-)
suite of miniatures for 3 instruments or more

The insula is a part of the brain responsible for the senses of body image, self-awareness and empathy, among others. All of this is needed in this work which includes elements of group improvisation.

In the ever-expanding world of sounds, many composers like me feel an obligation to make use of a variety of sounds per composition, as if just to remind us that these rare sounds are there. Some more wish that sounds serve the function of mere effects. Yet these rare sounds often succeed in hijacking our attention from the rest of the music. On the other hand we might condition ourselves to listening for a familiar turn of events, and miss the sounds themselves that are the vehicle of that narrative turn. This suite emerges where these two questions collide.

In this suite of miniatures which can be played in any amount and in almost any order, I step back in history to the medieval times; in that compositions were much more up to context and debate, where composers did not have such immense power of decision and yet the sounding result was inherently musical. Some of the practice of adaptation and improvisation still continues in our day. The selection of instruments and pitches of all miniatures are decided by the performers in the rehearsal process. By composing this way, I also embrace rare instruments and sounds as well as the instruments of the future, sounds of which I do not or cannot have an idea about.