Clyne, Anna - Choke

Clyne, Anna - Choke

Choke was composed for saxophonist Argeo Ascani for his participation in the 2005 International Guadeamus Interpretor’s Competition. The tape part is composed using a limited palette of samples (primarily pre-recorded saxophone), which are manipulated, transformed and layered to create an evolving textural form. To this is added a secondary palette of live sounds, created by the performer, ranging from multiphonics to growling vocalizations. A film was created for the work by New York based visual artist, Jon Niborg Speier.

Choke was premiered by Ascani at Greenfield Hall, New York, with subsequent performances at Cooper Union, Manhattan School of Music and The Mohawk The revised version, for bass clarinet, was premiered by Patrick O'Keefe at the SEAMUS Conference 2006, where it was awarded Second Prize in the SEAMUS/ASCAP Commission Competition.

In 2012, Tzadik Records released a full album of my music, titled Blue Moth, that showcases a diverse range of electroacoustic chamber music, including Choke.

— Anna Clyne

The openly crackles and key clicks blend seemlessly before a gong like tone which decays and then re-emerges, spiralling in and out of the aural foreground. There is constant movement and interest in this exquisite piece by Anna Clyne for baritone and electronics. The mood is menacing, both organic and synthetic in an unsettling tapestry of effects. Very raw and intimate sounds pop in and out of focus before the saxophone homicide section really takes hold of everything. The rich harmonics from the baritone's lowest note take on an importance and centrality which is unusual and yet very natural for the instrument. The devastating climax leads on in slow motion to an extended coda, sinking in a quasi-celestial malaise. The variety of material in this overwhelming work is very impressive and is typical of Anna Clyne's resourcefulness and inventive output. Her Blue Moth recording where this piece is included, is intoxicating and fascinating. The attention to detail is rare and every nuance feels perfectly timed. Performing the piece presents a challenge in ensuring that the sound sources are working together, not apart. The artwork in the score is worth seeing, and though unexplained, is very suggestive. The composer is known to have a strong interest and connection to the visual arts.