Violinist Miranda Cuckson performs Secret Machine no.7, a work for solo violin by Scott Wollschleger. The piece is featured on Wollschleger’s album of compositions, Between Breath. 

Secret Machine no.7 is one of four commissioned works on the album performed by its commissioner. On the album, Wollscheleger writes: ’Between Breath is a super playful and intense sonic adventure. It is also a deeply personal album with each work channeling wild, ecstatic, joyful, melancholic, and unnamable forces bubbling up inside of me as I composed each piece.

’Each piece requires a huge amount of physical stamina and concentration; many passages push the musicians to their physical limit. They are the true heroes and navigators of this journey.’

On Secret Machine no.7 specifically, Wollscheleger says: ’Much of the music was conjured by dreaming, and it gave me the feeling I was channeling something telegraphed in from the outside. The material is organised in an ever-expanding, wave-like song form, and correlated to a wave-like expansion of the violin’s range. The piece’s hyper-virtuosity generates an unusual, cool glow of reso- nance. While writing, I often imagined Miranda performing the music while hovering over a blue-glowing portal, with the sounds of her violin communicating in a secret cosmological language to activate it.

’I would write down the dream-music in the early morning with a muted violin in my lap. Mapping my hand’s way around the violin, I tried to weave a soulful, melodic line expanding and contracting into an exuberant labyrinth of brilliant harmonics and resonance. Seeing how Miranda danced through the music over our various workshops also guided my decisions.’ 

Cuckson performs as both a violinist and violist, enjoying a solo and collaborative career across the US and internationally. She is a member of interdisciplinary collective AMOC and director of non-profit Nunc. She has guest curated at National Sawdust, the Contempo series in Chicago, and Miller Theatre in New York.

Between Breath will be released on 21 June 2024 on New Focus Recordings.

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