For Amplified Mandolin
and 4 Amplified Soda Cans
This piece was commissioned by the CrossSound Festival for a series of three concerts in southern Alaska in 2001. In writing this piece, I faced two dilemmas: how to write for an Alaskan folk mandolinist who did not read music and to write for variable list of percussion instruments (the list of available instruments from Ketchikan, Sitka, and Juneau did not make for any consistent combinations for which I wanted to write). I solved the first problem, by writing two pieces. One was a set of 19 chords that was meant as an etude for the player to learn my harmonic vocabulary. In the etude, the player realizes the chords, in order, using several modes of articulations. This piece is called Vertical Lists. The specific realization (orchestrated with rhythm) of this list of chords, or verticalities is Vertical Features Remake 1, the second piece. The other problem was solved by writing for a set of percussion instruments, which I knew, would be available anywhere in Alaska soda cans. The title is borrowed from a film by Peter Greenaway, a faux documentary in which an apocryphal film (footage of vertical features) is reconstituted several times using different propositions of pacing.