spark (2015) for Wacom Tablet Transducer-Piano-Feedback Instrument by Rama Gottfried, for pianist Ernst Surberg
spark is not quite a piano reduction, but a reimagining and translation of the piece flint written in 2014 for ensemble mosaik. In flint, a rock of iron pyrite triggers an ensemble of sparks seemingly from nowhere into existence; in spark the ensemble is miniaturized, reformed, and interacting within the experimental laboratory of the piano. Like the momentary body of sound, when a spark contacts flammable material a flame forms. Expanding and transforming as it grows, it feeds itself on the material, continuing until it has released as much of the material’s content as it can, and finally diffuses into the air. The machinery of life follows a similar progression — from the microscopic drama of atoms, cells, neurons, leaves, amoebas, and digital bits — to the macro-scale drama of lives, societies, and universe-sized ecosystems. The piece spark for Ernst Surberg, is not universe-sized, but instead is comprised of millions of microscopic lives and deaths in sound within these short few moments.