The Ringing World
pno, perc, db
Johnstone Fund for New Music

February 24, 2016
CNX 2016
Short North Stage
Columbus, OH (US)

Karl Larson, pno
Matt Evans, perc
Pat Swoboda, db

︎︎︎Detailed Inventory


Suspended Cymbal
3 gongs

Double bass (amplified)


The Ringing World is in five short sections (I: long, II: short, III: long, IV: short, V: long) performed without interruption. Harmonically, it is in a new area of the world previously explored in my pieces The Tears, Lisa, and Humble Servant. Formally, it is symmetrically oriented, with each movement being at its heart a rhythmic palindrome, with layers of rhythmically loose material floating inbetween, forming melodies and tensions that are sometimes resolved, and sometimes left hanging. Each movement contains several transformations of previously heard materials, but in such a way that the surface remains basically unrippled, and the harmonic continuum intact.

The title is borrowed from the official journal of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers, The Ringing World. The plight of the ringers may be lost on the corpses and the newborn babies, but it points to the greater power of sound as made manifest by physical struggle or human suffering; each sound a small strike against the frictionless vanity of the financial and political hierarchies that make up the bulk of our inheritance and our reality.

More metaphorically, the double bass may stand in for the unknown, and piano and vibraphone two things become one, a union. On the other hand, the bass may be seen as representing the flesh, and the marriage of piano and vibraphone the bells that signal arrivals and departures from this world and the other, the unringing, world.


︎︎︎Score Excerpts

Copyright © by Adrian Knight 2023.