"Thomas Jefferson went through the New Testament and removed all the miracles, leaving only the teachings."
"Meaning is a matter of adjacent data."
"The law of mosaics: how to deal with parts in the absence of wholes."
These passages, along with many others, are appropriated from a variety of sources and arranged by David Shields into his 2010 book, Reality Hunger: A Manifesto. It is a patchwork treatise on art and digital culture, and is an inspiration for Law of Mosaics, a new 30-minute piece for A Far Cry.
The musical material from the first movement, Excerpts from the middle of something, is lush and climactic but it is also a fish out of water, removed from surrounding music that might help it be better contextualized. It could follow a tense build-up, or precede a climax and resolution, but instead we hear it repeated and revised. As the material circles in on itself, it begins to make sense on its own, but never really "goes" anywhere.
The second movement, Palindrome for Andrew Norman, is constructed entirely of samples lifted from other pieces of music. Each plays an important or climactic role in the piece from which it is lifted, but is used here as a single building block in the construction of a symmetrical (and rather arbitrary) formal structure: the palindrome. Each sample is altered from its original composition in some way: it may appear backwards, or re-voiced, or as a canon with itself, but an element of its essential character is always preserved.
Andrew Norman is a contemporary composer from New York whose 2010 string trio "The Companion Guide to Rome" is heard among the many snippets of source material in this movement.
In some way, the rich history of works written for the string orchestra informs and influences every performance by every individual string orchestra active today, whether they choose to perform those works or not. Climactic moments from "Adagio for Strings" and "The Four Seasons," slowed down and layered on top of one another explores what can happen when two "staples" of the repertoire (likely to be found on a Best Classical Hits CD) are stretched out and mashed up.
The fourth movement, Beats, is driven by noise, punk and electronic music more than classical music influences. A simple and clear form is filled with music that plays with the space between pitch and non-pitched sound.
Climactic moments from movement three, three times as slow as before is simply a reframing of music you have already heard.
The warp and woof refers to the lengthwise (warp) and crosswise (woof) threads that together create the texture and foundation of a woven fabric. It is a fitting end for a piece that imagines the framing of musical content to be as integral to the structure of a work as the way that content is framed.