The latest of the workshops for Latency Canons was the first time I brought musical material that I knew would actually be going into the piece. For the previous two workshops, I'd come with only fragments of music for testing out the dynamics of playing with delay under various scenarios (a conductor in New York conducting players in England, vice versa, no one conducting and the players just following each other by sound, or by sight only, etc. etc.). And I actually ended up using none of that early fragmentary material in the final score.
But those early workshops were essential in helping me to figure out what kinds of material would work well, for showing me what scenarios of the imitative setup were likely to yield interesting results (or even be practically possible), and helping me get to the heart of what it was I wanted to do with this idea.
Latency Canons is in some ways a concerto for string quartet, but the onstage string quartet is replicated in three other places (the furthest of which is the Gildas Quartet in Manchester England) that will all be in communication via GoogleHangouts. The latency (delay) of the internet connection will hopefully allow the remote quartets to create a halo of resonance and reverberation around the onstage players' music. This unstable and multipart echo made me think of a ritualistic recitation, as congregants chanting in a strange cathedral that wraps around the world all the way to Manchester England.
The piece opens with only the onstage quartet playing. Then the offstage quartets join in imitation. The orchestra joins with its own imitations, and the piece becomes a conversation between the orchestra and the "canonists" of the four quartets. Eventually conductor George Manahan passes the baton to conductor Dane Lam on the other side of the Atlantic.
The piece ends with the onstage players gradually dropping away, until only the offstage players are left playing. The music that started on Zankel Hall's stage has drifted out into the world.