on revient toujours for oboe and live electronics (alternate version: soprano sax)
on revient toujours receives its title from one of Arnold Schoenberg’s final essays, penned in 1948. Schoenberg’s essay addresses his occasional desire to return to tonality in some of his later works. He explained, “a longing to return to the older style was always vigorous in me; and from time to time I had to yield to that urge.”
on revient toujours (“one always returns”) takes on quadruple meaning in my piece. (1) Coming off of a compositional stint of virtuosic and intricate writing, I return to a simpler instrumental style in this piece. (2) The electronic sounds in the piece consist only of live-processing of the oboe—there is no fixed media. The live-processing modules I created use parallel variable-delay lines to harmonize the solo instrument with itself. Thus, the piece’s harmonies emanate by a confluence of delayed returns of the oboe’s acoustic sound. Further, the variable-delay times recycle, which causes a recurrence of harmonies in a cyclical manner. (3) The music’s form continually turns back onto itself. (4) This will be my final student work at IU. While the ending of such a formative and happy time in my life slightly saddens me, I remind myself--on revient toujours.
Jake Gunnar Walsh, oboe
Jacobs School of Music, Bloomington, IN
April 22, 2018