Eric Skytterholm Egan | Eyes so Dimmed

(2013) | Full Score

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Written with the support of Komponistenes Vederlagsfond, Norway

In the 20th century the technical virtuosity of musical performers reached a new peak. With the onset of modernism and later, the stylistic traits of new complexity, the demands on a musician's physical and mental dexterity could at times approach the impossible. The result is that many of today's performers have technical abilities that far surpass anything we have seen so before.

Yet, there are still techniques that our performers have not completely mastered. Techniques that, due to their unpredictable nature, are practically impossible to control accurately. I find these techniques very intriguing; they exhibit a distinctly human side to the otherwise near-infallible virtuoso musician. Seeing a performer that that is normally never out of their depth struggle to play what might seem to be simple melodic lines, or even sustaining a single pitch, is a distinctly ambivalent, perhaps even a difficult experience. Their intrinsic musicality means that they have a very clear idea of what they want to hear; yet, like a child trying to speak before they have a clear grasp of language, they are unable to achieve the desired result. To me, this is a very beautiful experience; watching someone strive their hardest to attain the impossible. It gives me the sensation of seeing the performer naked, unable to hide behind a veil of technical ability. In Eyes so Dimmed I attempt to do just this.

The composition is inspired by the following quotation from Samuel Beckett's Words and Music:

Seen from above at such close quarters in that radiance so cold and faint
with eyes so dimmed by ... what had passed, its quite ...
piercing beauty is a little ....

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