for electric guitar and tape
OR 6 electric guitars and 2 electric basses
2011 | 10"
Commissioned by The Juilliard School | Dance Division
Choreography by HAYLEE NICHELE
Electric Guitar 1 (LIVE)
Electric Guitar 2
Electric Guitar 3
Electric Guitar 4
Electric Guitar 5
Electric Guitar 6
Electric Bass 1
Electric Bass 2
N.B. This can be performed in an "Electric Guitar and Tape" configuration, à la Steve Reich's Electric Counterpoint, with the musician playing live against a pre-recorded version of the other 7 parts (recorded by the performer). It can also be performed with all the parts played live.
I met Gabriel on the last day of the 2010 Bang on a Can Summer Festival at MassMoCA, in North Adams, Massachusetts. I was a composer fellow at the festival, and Gabriel was a "civilian" who had come down with some friends from his native Montréal to see the final seven-hour Marathon concert.
It being the last night of the festival, after the Marathon ended we all packed into the Mohawk bar—which has, sadly, since closed down—to celebrate the previous three weeks and to say our good-byes. It was the only bar within walking distance from MassMoCA, so I wasn't surprised to see Gabriel and his friends had ended up there, too. I downed some liquid courage and introduced myself.
The connection was intense and immediate despite (because of?) the language barrier. We spent the whole night together. And then he had to go home to Montréal, and I had to get back to New York. True to his word, we stayed in touch. He was studying German at the time, and thus did an anglophone and a francophone end up closing our long letters to each other with “tschüss!”, the German slang for “bye!” or “see ya!”.
That February, I went up to Montréal to visit. We got to know each other better, explored his city in the extreme cold and snow, talked as much (and slept as little) as we could. And then I had to say good bye—in the bus station, over in an instant, just like that—and come home.
Around that time, my dear friend Haylee Nichele was bracing herself for a big good-bye of her own: her impending graduation from Juilliard's Dance Division, and the likely scattering of her friends to the four corners of the earth. We'd collaborated before, on You Are Alive, and she asked me to write some music for the dance she was choreographing for the 2011 Juilliard Dance Senior Production. So I wrote this piece about, and for, our good-byes. I needed the most passionate, raw, powerful, sincere and vulnerable music I could find, which led me, without irony, to the sound-worlds of late-80s/early-90s arena-rock and Brahms.
Tschüss is dedicated with love and affection to Haylee and Gabriel, my two favorite Canadians, and still two of my closest friends.