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Evan Johnson: dust book (2022/23, WP)

Marco Fusi (Viola d’amore)

For more than two years, Italian violinist, violist and viola d’amore player Marco Fusi and American composer Evan Johnson worked very closely together on his new piece dust book, which in six chapters transforms the imagination of dust – as something floating, wandering, obscuring, traces on solid surfaces – into sound. “That solid surface here,” says the composer, “is the extraordinary, irrepressible resonance of the restrung and detuned viola d’amore; in a book of pieces that forms a catalog of cracks, holes, particles, pinpricks and shards, the instrument itself cannot help but spread clouds, ribbons, threads.” (Evan Johnson) Those who know Evan Johnson’s equally fragile, dense and at the same time spared music may be exceedingly curious about this musical reading of the Book of dust…

Marco Fusi

dust book is six interconnected panels: some are punctured overlays, scattered detritus left when a substrate is removed; some are marginal commentaries, glosses, parenthetical elaborations; all are suspended from a slow-moving, impossibly delicate, frayed thread, gently suspended over the abyss, that is always in danger of disintegrating.

Evan Johnson
Marco Fusi at the rehearsal of "dust book"


dust book comprises six pieces, whose titles should be given in the program thusly (note the spacing!):

1. interlude [ca. 9′]
2. several canons [ca. 7′]
3. in modo parentetico [ca. 3′]
4. interlude (double) [ca. 9’30”]
5. in modo parentetico [ca. 4’30”]
6. interlude (dust) [ca. 10′]

Total length (not including interstitial pauses, some of them substantial): ca. 43′

Performance of the complete cycle is preferred, but separate performance of the following configurations is also possible:
2.; 2.-3.; 4.-5.; 4.-6.; 6.;

– Evan Johnson

This piece would have been impossible without the advocacy, patient tutorials, exploratory spirit, and technical editing of Marco Fusi. It is his belief in this strange, awkward, wonderful, impossibly resonant thing that sustains this work.

Evan Johnson
© ️Veera Vehkasalo
© ️Veera Vehkasalo
© ️Kristof Lemp