Stuart Lake was written during the summer and fall of 2008. The name comes from a lake that we lived nearby for several summers in Fort St. James, British Columbia. The music is a metaphor for this lake, which is vast, clean, cold, and is dotted by many small islands. In the music, the islands are represented by short mobile miniatures, played at the whim of the soloist, while the lake is represented by a continuous backdrop of rich harmonic movement, played by the electronics.
This piece attempts to bring together two different ways of listening to music: “active” and “passive”. “Active” and “passive” are not analogous to ambient and non-ambient music, but rather concerns a difference that can be generalized by contrasting the music of most European composers with the American experimental music
of composers such as La Monte Young. The former asks the audience to actively concentrate on the sound and pay attention to the musical discourse, whereas La Monte Young asks for the listener to become immersed in the music over long stretches of time with only small changes in the sound. These two modes of listening function as
opposites in Stuart Lake. The “lake” (harmonic backdrop) encourages passive listening and the “islands” (mobile
miniature) encourage active listening.
While performing Stuart Lake, the soloist improvises along guidelines which range from exact musical notation
to completely free improvisation. The structure of Stuart Lake is predetermined, but the paricular form of any
performance will be newly invented by the soloist.
Craig Pedersen, trumpet
Isak Goldschneider, clarinet
Taylor Brook, electronics, composition