Nick Collins: Concerto for Accompaniment
The "Concerto for Accompaniment," by Nick Collins, represents
the first example of what I believe is a new and promising compositional
At the 2001 International Computer Music Conference in Havana,
I suggested to Nick that he write a piece for oboe
and piano in which the piano part had technical demands that
far exceeded the reach of any human player. Nick responded in only
a couple of months with much more than I had asked for. That
the technical demands are superhuman is really a somewhat incidental
fact about this extremely interesting and beautiful composition
whose musical merits would speak for themselves --- if it could
While scored for an unusual, but nearly traditional,
combination of oboe and piano six hands, the composition is unplayable
by traditional means. First of all, the technical demands alone are enough to
make human performance impossible --- the piano parts contain extremely
including seemingly unmeasured "showers" of texture as well as
clearly measured 32nd notes as fast as 200 beats per minute.
Secondly, the rhythmic demands are,
in places, beyond what could reasonably expected
of human musicians. For example, the fugue subject and counter-subject
of the 2nd movement, appear at many different time scales including several
that lead to rhythmic complexity far in excess of that normally encountered
in instrumental music.
As another example, the first movement contains a nearly unplayable rhythmic passage
in which the oboe and piano play rather fast sixteenth notes
which are are offset by a thirtysecond note. Finally, In addition to the
technical and rhythmic demands, the coordination of the ensemble
poses significant obstacles due to intricate and complex interweaving
This is, of course, where my research comes in. The performance
of the piece was accomplished using my "Music Plus One"
system. I hope you will enjoy listening to the .mp3 files.
Here are midi files for both movements:
Movement 2: Fugue
The score might be available on request (for the right reasons).