Arbor Vitæ

James Tenney

Arbor Vitæ has been performed in ’s-Hertogenbosch, Amsterdam, Berlin, Brno, Groningen, Hamburg, Huddersfield, Montréal, Oldenburg, Oslo, Schwaz, Valencia, Vancouver and Victoria…

Arbor Vitae (2006) 13 ’Arbor Vitae, James Tenney’s last work, is both a culmination of many ideas from prior pieces as well as an unprecedented show of innovation. The title reflects Tenney’s attitude towards life and music as well as the compositional process, which uses the image of a tree’s roots and branches as a metaphor for its harmonic scheme. Features that exemplify Tenney’s aesthetic include the use of harmonic series to determine the pitch set, and, on the macro-level, a single gestalt illuminated through many dimensions of the work (expanding then contracting pitch range, crescendo-plateau-decrescendo dynamic swell, and increasing and decreasing temporal density applied over the entire duration of the piece). On the other hand, the extension of certain compositional facilities is truly exciting. The extended pitch vocabulary includes pitches derived from harmonics up to 1331st partial and the probabilistic scheme determining the evolving harmonies of the piece are incredibly dynamic. As the piece develops, sets of changing harmonic fields grow more expansive and complex. At first, the harmonies may be perceived in one tonality/harmonic field but later as branches of branches are used to determine the sounding tones, a more polytonal impression may be perceived. This work was commissioned by the Bozzini Quartet with the assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts. (program note by Mike Winter)

Premiere

  • December 10, 2006, James Tenney Festival: Concert, CalArts, Valencia (California, USA)

Arbor Vitæ

  • Composer(s): James Tenney
  • Year of composition: 2006
  • Duration: 13:10
  • Instrumentation: string quartet
  • Commission: Quatuor Bozzini, with support from the CCA
On disc
Concerts
10 Dece 2006
14h30
Tenney
In person
Valencia (California, USA)
21 Apri 2007
20h00
Série QB
Tenney
In person
Montréal (Québec)
19 Augu 2007
19h30
Tenney
In person
Montréal (Québec)
12 Octo 2007
22h00
NewmanOesterleTenney
In person
Oslo (Norway)
25 Nove 2008
16h00
LennonMcCartneyTenney
In person
Huddersfield (England, UK)
26 Marc 2009
20h00
ArnoldTenney
In person
Brno (Czech Republic)
28 Marc 2009
16h00
CageTenneyWolffZimmermann
In person
Berlin (Germany)
12 May 2010
20h00
GoldsteinJamiesonMartinTenneyTremblay
In person
Oldenburg (Niedersachsen, Germany)
7 Octo 2010
20h00
Série QB
CageTenneyWolffZimmermann
In person
Montréal (Québec)
10 Marc 2011
20h00
CageTenneyWolffZimmermann
In person
Victoria (British Columbia, Canada)
15 Marc 2011
20h00
CageTenneyWolffZimmermann
In person
Vancouver (British Columbia, Canada)
12 Nove 2011
15h00
AdriaanszGarlandKondoTenneyVan EyckenXenakis
In person
’s-Hertogenbosch (Netherlands)
17 Nove 2011
20h15
AdriaanszGarlandKondoTenneyVan EyckenXenakis
In person
Amsterdam (Netherlands)
18 Sept 2015
19h00
JohnstonMoosbruggerSzlavnicsTenneyZimmermann
In person
Schwaz (Austria)
30 Octo 2016
14h00
FreyLucierScelsiTenney
In person
Groningen (Netherlands)
18 Janu 2023
20h00
TenneyWolff
In person
Hamburg (Hamburg, Germany)