Square #4 was written as a part of VENN Concert, a collaboration with composers Tan Tuan Hao and Nick Martin. We each wrote a piece to be performed at the same time as the others. Musicians were free to walk from one piece to another, and the audience could walk around the room as well.
The concert marked the end of our Masters degree in composition at The Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen.
VENN concert was written for recorder, flute, clarinet, saxophone, trombone, banjo, cello, contrabass and percussion. Of these 9 musician each composer wrote for 5, so that most musicians would end up playing in more than one piece.
Square #4 was written for soprano recorder, flute, clarinet in Bb, tenor saxophone and trombone.
“Square #1”, “Square #2”, “Circle #3” and “Square #4” (part of VENN Concert) are all pieces for musicians with iPod Shuffles. On the iPods are recordings of my voice giving different instructions. The musicians set the iPods on ‘shuffle’, which gives them the instructions in random* order. This makes each performance different, and the musician have to react to the instructions in the moment, giving a more spontaneous feel to the performance.
In VENN Concert, the musicians turned on the iPods when they entered the piece “Square #4” and the square marked on the floor, and left the square, turning off the iPods, when an instruction told them to do so.
*) The iPod can’t actually randomize, but it gives the tracks in different mixed orders, which in practice works the same way.