Taylor Brook: Faith In Numbers

A live recording of Taylor Brook‘s Faith In Numbers: Concerto for Violin and Percussion Quartet. Performed with Architek Percussion, 26 April 2015 at La Sala Rossa in Montréal, Canada.



Architek Percussion (Alessandro Valiante, Ben Reimer, Ben Duinker, Mark Morton) with Taylor Brook & me – 25 April 2015, La Sala Rossa, Montréal.









Concert Notes (-TB):

This violin concerto is dedicated to violinist, Mira Benjamin.

The title, Faith in Numbers, is taken from a popular science documentary by James Burke of the same name, which shows how technology emerges from seemingly unconnected events in history. This title doesn’t refer to faith in a religious sense, but to signify a complete trust in something or someone. I chose this title for my composition because of the utilization of the same basic proportions in all structural levels. By doing this, the reiteration of simple numbers and ratios, applied to different aspects of the composition, combine to form a complex whole.

The third and fourth strings of the violin are retuned: the G string is tuned down a sixth of a tone, and the D string is tuned up a quarter-tone. This microtonal scordatura transports the treatment of pitch in the music to the resonance of the instrument itself. In this way, my ideas about pitch inform how I want to tune the violin, then the retuned violin informs me about how I want to use pitch in the composition. The open strings define the important tonal centres of the work as well as the construction of the modes, which are drawn from the first seven harmonics of the opens strings.

The percussion quartet perform on a drum kit, two almglocken and a steel string guitar. The guitar is played primarily with mallets while secured on its back to a table. By using the guitar as a percussion instrument I am tipping my hat to Lou Harrison and the use of a double bass in his violin concerto, which uses a percussion quintet instead of an orchestra. Each of the guitars is tuned to a different open chord, corresponding to the pitch of one of the open violin strings.