Les yeux ouverts
2009 – 10 | for vibraphone
Les yeux ouverts (“Eyes open”) articulates superimposed layers of musical material through the intricate grammar typical of much of my work. Written for David Shively, it is an intensely demanding piece. I thought of it while composing as homologous with an imaginary trio whose members play found-object percussion, Les yeux fermés (“Eyes closed”), titled in reference to an enigmatic directive: ‘Regarde également les yeux fermés, pour mieux te voir regarder’ (“Look, too through closed eyes, the better to see yourself looking”). I imagined two incarnations of the “same” music being presented simultaneously, with the extreme virtuosity, precise detail, and carefully controlled chromatic pitch world of the solo vibraphone blurred by a vaguer, more supple and timbrally variegated exploration of similar materials in the ensemble. The vibraphone piece ends up reflecting this speculative situation—as it progresses, its edges soften and its colors diversify, as if its gentle twin, the unheard ensemble version of the piece, had been glimpsed through closed eyes.