Entanglements (1998)
viola and computer-generated sounds

Robert Morris

Program Notes

Entanglements for viola and computer-generated sounds was written in the summer of 1998 at the request of John Graham to whom it is dedicated. While the writing went relatively smoothly, a title for the piece eluded me for a long time. Finally I asked John to help find a suitable word or phrase that would capture the character of the piece. John came up with "entanglements," exactly the right blend of meanings and connotations to suggest the many ways the viola and the synthesized sounds interact. In fact however there are just two basic ways in which the two co-mingle. On one hand, the viola decorates or outlines the sounds on tape transforming their harmonies into expressive lines. On the other, the tape and solo vie for ascendency in a series of contrapuntal interludes. These two modes are not mutually exclusive and often melt from one into the other as the piece flows on.

The computer-generated sounds were designed to complement the deep-throated sound of the viola. Oddly enough, many of the sounds I used are more often found in Rock and other forms of popular music.