Almost a year after the announcement of our first Video Performance Competition, we are thrilled to release the video for Elliot Cole's Flowerpot Music No. 1. Cole's work was the project's second commission back in 2015, a piece that was programed 30 times between our 14 commissioners in its first year. In his interview with us in 2016, Elliot says about the work:
I was really attracted to the challenge of writing a piece that is agnostic about pitch. I ask you to get flowerpots, but it’s not practical for me to tell you to get exactly the pitches that I have. There’s too much variation even in identical-looking pots. So I don’t know what pitches you’re going to have. Given that, how do I made a piece of music with a strong identity? That’s a more interesting challenge to me.
I love the pitches of my set, but I didn’t put a ton of thought into them. I love them because I’ve spent hours and hours playing them and now their weird scale now sounds deeply right to me. Honestly, I’m more interested in giving players that experience than I am in giving any precise experience to the audience. I trust that anyone playing their own set for long enough will feel the same way.
Rotating through the set is just another way to scramble up pitch, to sever the illusion that I might know what’s going to come out. It also should give a harmonic arc to the piece, since I repeat so many of the same physical patterns.
Thank you to Four/Ten Media for the wonderful video, to Jake Harpster and Matt Penland for their fantastic performance, and Elliot Cole for writing a piece that's fun to play and fun to listen to.