the air we breathe in intimate spaces

orchestra
3(3=afl).2+ca.2+bcl.2+cbsn.2.2.2.1 + 2p + strings

I had the idea to compose this piece after having a rather intense yet intimate conversation with someone in public. For some reason, we kept everything to a whisper, perhaps to not disturb others around us or perhaps to keep our conversation and our lives private. Despite our restraint our whispers became visceral and our breathing became erratic.

“the air we breathe in intimate spaces” is an exploration of these sounds. It’s about the things we hear within close proximity to others: their gasps, panting, sighs, and the anxiety of strong inhale. 

The piece begins disruptively into a cacophony of air sounds coming from both the winds and strings. The brake drum acts almost as an observer or a found object – seemingly out of time yet ever present. 

As the piece progresses, the breathing becomes less erratic and the piece transforms into a calmer texture. The metal brake drum fades into a glistening drone that, with the string harmonics, blend with live breathing from the rest of the ensemble. 

The piece was read by the UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra.