Translucent Night for trumpet and electronics (2008)
by Bruce Christian Bennett
Hear the premiere of Translucent Night: TransNight.mp3 (MP3)
Download the score: TransNight.pdf
Translucent Night, a piece for trumpet and electronics, was composed for my friend and colleague, Tom Dambly. Translucent Night is a re-composition of an earlier work for trumpet and string trio, noche transluciente, which is the fifth movement of a larger work for voice, electronics, and ensemble, Canciones de amor y la noche. In the earlier piece, the string trio acts as both a resonator and an echo to the trumpet line, effectively shadowing the trumpet. In the new work, the electronics function much in the same fashion, as resonators and delay line capture and sustain parts of the live trumpet. The electronics also support the harmonic framework of the trumpet part using common synthesis and sampling techniques.
While Translucent Night uses the earlier composition as a starting point, employing some of the same melodic gestures, its harmonic material has been completely reworked and the form has been expanded. The trumpet line navigates a series of harmonic fields and artificial modes based on frequency modulation (FM) synthesis–generated spectra. The modulation and carrier frequencies used are derived from the fundamental pitches (pedal tones) of the trumpet. Thus, the latent harmonic implications of the instrument itself are extrapolated to create the harmonic language of the piece. The melodic character of the piece is loosely inspired by the imagery of Federico García Loca’s poetic depictions of Andalusia and the cante jondo (“deep song”).