Arbor Vitæ

James Tenney

Arbor Vitæ has been performed in ’s-Hertogenbosch, Amsterdam, Berlin, Brno, Groningen, Huddersfield, Montréal, Oldenburg, Oslo, Schwaz, Valencia, Vancouver and Victoria…

Arbor Vitae (2006) 13 ’Arbor Vitae, James Tenney’s last work, is both a culmination of many ideas from prior pieces as well as an unprecedented show of innovation. The title reflects Tenney’s attitude towards life and music as well as the compositional process, which uses the image of a tree’s roots and branches as a metaphor for its harmonic scheme. Features that exemplify Tenney’s aesthetic include the use of harmonic series to determine the pitch set, and, on the macro-level, a single gestalt illuminated through many dimensions of the work (expanding then contracting pitch range, crescendo-plateau-decrescendo dynamic swell, and increasing and decreasing temporal density applied over the entire duration of the piece). On the other hand, the extension of certain compositional facilities is truly exciting. The extended pitch vocabulary includes pitches derived from harmonics up to 1331st partial and the probabilistic scheme determining the evolving harmonies of the piece are incredibly dynamic. As the piece develops, sets of changing harmonic fields grow more expansive and complex. At first, the harmonies may be perceived in one tonality/harmonic field but later as branches of branches are used to determine the sounding tones, a more polytonal impression may be perceived. This work was commissioned by the Bozzini Quartet with the assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts. (program note by Mike Winter)

Premiere

  • December 10, 2006, Concert, CalArts, Valencia (California, USA)

Arbor Vitæ

  • James Tenney
  • Year of composition: 2006
  • Duration: 13:10
  • Instrumentation: string quartet
  • Commission: Quatuor Bozzini, with support from the CCA

On disc

Concerts

10 Dece 2006
2:30 pm
Tenney
Valencia (California, USA)
21 Apri 2007
8:00 pm
Série QB
Tenney
Montréal (Québec)
19 Augu 2007
7:30 pm
Tenney
Montréal (Québec)
12 Octo 2007
10:00 pm
NewmanOesterleTenney
Oslo (Norway)
25 Nove 2008
4:00 pm
LennonMcCartneyTenney
Huddersfield (England, UK)
26 Marc 2009
8:00 pm
ArnoldTenney
Brno (Czech Republic)
28 Marc 2009
4:00 pm
CageTenneyWolffZimmermann
Berlin (Germany)
12 May 2010
8:00 pm
GoldsteinJamiesonMartinTenneyTremblay
Oldenburg (Niedersachsen, Germany)
7 Octo 2010
8:00 pm
Série QB
CageTenneyWolffZimmermann
Montréal (Québec)
10 Marc 2011
8:00 pm
CageTenneyWolffZimmermann
Victoria (British Columbia, Canada)
15 Marc 2011
8:00 pm
CageTenneyWolffZimmermann
Vancouver (British Columbia, Canada)
12 Nove 2011
3:00 pm
AdriaanszGarlandKondoTenneyVan EyckenXenakis
’s-Hertogenbosch (Netherlands)
17 Nove 2011
8:15 pm
AdriaanszGarlandKondoTenneyVan EyckenXenakis
Amsterdam (Netherlands)
18 Sept 2015
7:00 pm
JohnstonMoosbruggerSzlavnicsTenneyZimmermann
Schwaz (Austria)
30 Octo 2016
2:00 pm
FreyLucierScelsiTenney
Groningen (Netherlands)