fragments in autumn

by Adam Hirsch

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fragments in autumn
for cello trio and electronics

Performed live at the Mills College Chapel
Signal Flow Festival, March 11 2016, Oakland, CA

Helen Newby - cello
Marissa Dietz - cello
Grace Harvey - cello
Adam Hirsch - live processing
Adria Otte - playback and diffusion

I. autumn
II. chemnitz 1929-1935
III. home 1992-1996
IV. somewhere in the north atlantic 1936
V. santa monica bay 1996-1999
VI. static

Composing fragments in autumn has been a way for me to explore sonic and structural relationships between memory and instrumental timbre, with a particular focus on the process of remembering distant fragments of early childhood. The piece began to form in a conversation I had with my grandfather about his faint memories of life in Nazi Germany before leaving his family for the US at the age of seven. I began to think about the richness in the way I recall the places and environments I called home at that time in my life, and was left with a very clear contrast: my own array of warm and diffuse fragments of memory, set against my grandfather's expanse of static and blankness, both of which exist in relation to a sense of place (or lack thereof).

I approached the composition with the idea of memory as a spectral process, involving textured relationships between components that may or may not cohere into moments of resonance. Each movement constitutes one "place" where this process might occur for me or my grandfather; the resulting relationships between acoustic and synthetic sounds imagine how our connections to these places may become distorted, expanded, convoluted or lost.

Dedicated to Jack Lehman, and the memory of Solomon Walruch and Eva Hildegard.

to my parents for their love and support
to Marissa, Helen, Grace, and Adria for their time and energy
to Zeena Parkins, Fred Frith, and Maggi Payne for their guidance and wisdom
and to the rest of my Mills faculty and collaborators who inspire me every day.


released March 11, 2016



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Adam Hirsch Oakland, California

Adam is a composer, saxophonist, and recording engineer based in Oakland, CA.

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