Brontal Symmetry is comprised of a series of “discarded scraps” of music from other pieces, here introduced in a sort of memory game. Each sound object is revealed and then slowly taken away while new ideas are introduced. What is left from these “scraps” is a series of sensations — objects without the context of their original meaning.
The word “brontal” is a made up word that longtime collaborator Kevin Sims coined after making a series of pencil drawings on orange paper. The word now embodies a lot of Wollschleger’s aesthetic: the idea that we can create something very basic and human that is about discovering the sensation of an object. In this way, we are making something unfamiliar very immediate. Just as with children, this process of discovery can be very focused and also at times very funny.
The humor of curiosity is very apparent in Brontal Symmetry. In recent personal correspondence with Pala Garcia of Longleash, for whom the work was written, she said:
I think the funniest aspect of Scott’s piece is the cartoonish aesthetic — even in the most chaotic, violent parts, it still only feels like cartoon violence — nothing irreversibly fatal, just punch-drunk swirling stars. The last piano flourish reminds me of cartoon heroics — like when classical masterworks are used in cartoons for melodramatic effect. The opening sections have their own kind of humor, more a caricature of humdrum monotony — perhaps the kind of New York City monotony that’s never actually that ordinary or boring, just predictably weird.
Commissioned and first performed by longleash.
Program note by Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti
The work is recorded on Soft Aberration released on New Focus Recordings
August 11, 2016
The Loretto Motherhouse