A Failed Entertainment was written for and first performed by Quatuor Diotima in November 2013.
Dedication: to Chris
Last October, I was on a four-day train trip from San Francisco to New York when I started reading Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace.
Over the last year, I have been looking for a way — my personal way — to deal with form and time, and this book helped me, giving me a new, different perspective on them. I am not saying that my piece is related to Infinite Jest — although ‘A Failed Entertainment’ was Wallace’s working title for his novel — but that this was the impulse which led me here, a starting point for a search that will probably take me several years.
I am used to working with different kinds of sound, melting them together in order to find a unique shape. What challenged me in this piece was precisely the fact that I could not work as I always do, because I had four instruments with the same sound properties. A Failed Entertainment is my longest work as well as my first attempt at working beyond the sound itself.
I am grateful to Julia Gerlach and the Berliner Künstlerprogramm des DAAD for supporting the project, and to the musicians of Quatuor Diotima, for their commitment.