Water, Wine, Brandy, Brine

for percussion quartet (15 crystal glasses)
duration: 13′
written for Sō Percussion




Program Notes

In 1641 a Jesuit scholar and priest named Athanasius Kircher published Magnes (Magnets), a work that discussed various forms of attraction and, unsurprisingly, magnetism. One chapter, titled “the magnetism of music,” details an experiment in which he fills four wine glasses with liquids of various densities: aqua vitae (later referred to as brandy by Benjamin Franklin’s time), wine, pure water, and a coarse liquid such as saltwater or oil. Kircher observed that each solution reacted differently when played, and conclusively associated each with one of the four Greco-Roman humors. Water, Wine, Brandy, Brine explores the various sounds that can be produced from playing crystal glasses as musical instruments, from the bell-like sounds of “toasting” the glasses, to the theremin-like singing produced when the rims are played.
This work was composed for Sō Percussion and premiered at Princeton University on May 18, 2015. Heartfelt thanks to the guys of Sō:
      Jason Treuting
      Eric Cha-Beach
      Josh Quillen
      Adam Sliwinski

Premiere: May 18, 2015. Princeton University
Sō Percussion