Re:CHORDS is a collective composition by, and for, Peckham Chamber Orchestra. I had the idea after contemplating Gmail’s daily command to ‘COMPOSE’ emails. I decided to take this literally. After having discussed the idea with PCO members some time in late 2014, I initiated the composition process in January 2015.
An email thread was created entitled ‘CHORDS’. I composed the first 16 bars of music and sent the last notes of what I had written (essentially a chord – each note of each instrument) by email yo yhr next composer (member of the orchestra). This member composed the next 16 bars and sent their last chord to the next member and so on until every participating member had composed their part. We then reversed the process; each composer has two 16 bar sections within the piece – they could simply repeat their first section but most decided to write new/responsive material – its form became a mirror image. This process began in early January 2015 and was completed in late June 2015. The sections were then chronologically assembled without any further “editing”. The total work was not seen/heard by anyone until all the sections were amalgamated. The composition is what it is; a collective, sonic, exquisite corpse!
The process and realization of Re:CHORDS emphasizes the omnipresence of admin; in every area of our lives (work, the social, the creative, etc.) is at some point managed, facilitated and mediated through admin: the email. Re:CHORDS transfigures the administrative into the performative. The result is something like a medley of screenshots into the carious composers’ minds. It is extremely unusual to have the composers performing their work,
Re:CHORDS proves that those who play have the capacity to compose. This exercise in democratizing the orchestral structure and compositional hierarchy has been equally laborious and rewarding.