The title of this piece comes from a caption on a printed drawing that was once gifted to me. Ancient Refuge features a setup of sixteen wine glasses, which are manipulated in Ableton and amplified. The composition begins with an introduction of sustained sonorities that are sequentially repeated and elaborated upon, followed by a shift to layered, strict-time rhythms with metallic and membranophonic timbres. The wine glasses are featured in an extended two-voice canon, followed by a digitally looped harmonic sequence over which the other instruments engage in a conversation-like texture. The parts begin to overlap and culminate in climactic cacophony in a manner similar to Witold Lutoslawski’s technique of “limited aleatoricism.” Here the performers all repeat different rhythmic passages at unique tempi, resulting in constantly evolving clutter that ultimately concludes with one unison attack. The listener is then left with the quiet and nearly-forgotten looped wine-glass sequence, which provides a brief backdrop for a closing passage played by the glockenspiel.
Performed by Heather Church, Alec Flatness, Kyle Hughes, and Danny Vargas.