bret battey • bat hat media


Quilcene Terpsichore

for the Trimpin Klavier Nonette (2003)


Trimpin's Klavier Nonette installation comprises nine toy pianos under MIDI control. In 2003, Seattle's Jack Straw Foundation Gallery hosted the Nonette and put out a call for compositions to be installed there and selected by visitors via coin-op mechanism. This fun piece, developed from a springy riff I jotted down as an undergraduate and featuring some superhuman hocketing patterns, just fit inside the two-minute length limit.

Quilcene is the name of a town in Washington State, a state that is gifted with many quirkily charismatic place names. "Terpsichore" (besides being the name of the Muse of Dance) is the title of a set of dances written/collected by the 17th-century composer Michael Praetorius.

The original recording was made with an ambisonic setup to capture the full-surround effect of the nine pianos distributed in the room. Unfortunately we don't get to hear the arpeggios careening around the room in this stereo mixdown.

A recording of the 24 works selected for the Toy Piano Nonette installation was published by the Jack Straw Foundation, though it now appears to be no longer available.