Live performance by UC Berkeley Symphony and Dan VanHassel, April 16, 2016.
Instrumentation: electric guitar and orchestra (1+pic, 2, 2d1, 2d1, 4, 2, 2, 1, timp, 3perc, hp, pno, str)
Duration: 17 minutes
World Premiere: April 16, 2016. UC Berkeley Symphony, David Milnes, conductor. Dan VanHassel, electric guitar.
Distill for orchestra and electric guitar is not a concerto in the sense of a traditionally virtuosic showpiece for the soloist. Instead, it marshals the power of the electric guitar to create a huge variety of tone color and texture, ranging from intense noise to the purest harmony, a power also shared by the symphony orchestra. These two sonic forces interact with each other in a slowly evolving soundscape based on an underlying chord progression. Over the course of the piece, this chord progression becomes progressively simpler until eventually it is distilled to its barest essence, that of a single note and its overtones.