Sudden Death

Program Notes
Unfortunately, this piece began as a meditative contemplation of the spontaneity of death. It seems to be an inescapable part of our current society, and, rather than be pessimistic, I suppose it’s best to focus on the value of what we have in the moment. For some of us, remaining optimistic is a daily fight.

This is a pensive work about inner thoughts, dread, joy, doubt, inspiration – thoughts that emerge when you zone out amongst daily events. It is a testimonial for the value of these thoughts - the zoning out - and the lack of their existence in our waking life.

“Sudden Death” has taken many forms. It began as a fixed media piece in 2011, and 2015. I seem to revive the project each time I’m struck with grief for the suddenly dead.

This is its most complete form. Fixed audio is still present. It is now paired with live processing, namely the capturing of double bass harmonics to create ghastly harmonies that float through the piece. The pitch material is derived from Henry Purcell’s “When I am Laid In Earth” aria from Dido and Aeneas, and is quasi-improvisational. The score suggests the plainchant style of delivery, and should be performed in a pensive and reverent manner.

The Purcell work is not only traditionally paired with Armistice Day (Veterans Day) in November, but it is also a fitting plea for those who suddenly and innocently perish in our current war with ourselves. “Remember me, but ah, forget my fate.”

Biographical Sketch
Brad Decker is a composer, improviser, and educator in new music composition, multimedia, and sound art. He performs as a double-bassist and sound artist using structured improvisation and live computer processing in numerous capacities, namely solo works, group ensemble collaboration, video art installations, and film soundtracks. Notable performances have been in Mexico, Australia, Italy, France, Brazil, and Canada, as well as at numerous venues in the United States. He completed his Doctorate of Musical Arts in composition from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and his Masters in Music composition and theory at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He currently teaches music composition and electronic music at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

Performer Biographical Sketch
Brad Decker is a composer, improviser, and educator in new music composition, multimedia, and sound art. He performs as a double-bassist and sound artist using structured improvisation and live computer processing in numerous capacities, namely solo works, group ensemble collaboration, video art installations, and film soundtracks. Notable performances have been in Mexico, Australia, Italy, France, Brazil, and Canada, as well as at numerous venues in the United States. He completed his Doctorate of Musical Arts in composition from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and his Masters in Music composition and theory at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He currently teaches music composition and electronic music at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.