I need to hear it first

Composer: Ofer Pelz
For saxophone quartet

My work often begins with research, the appropriation of an image in sound. In I need to hear it first, this image is constructed out of granular points which, by their proximity, form a musical figure. This figure repeats and transforms itself constantly, retaining the trace of earlier instanciations. In my music, I explore repetition in an inexact manner: subtle changes are produced in each iteration, and these changes reappear both in the musical material itself and in the variation of the auditory perspective.

For a number of years, during my adolescence, I practised tenor saxophone and played in the school’s Big Band. This work is an occasion to explore this instrument as a composer for (almost) the first time, I am endeavouring to treat the instruments here as one, composed of four individuals, and not as four instruments creating an ensemble. The creative process of workshopping the piece with Quasar permitted me to explore many directions before finding that of the of the final work.

A large part of the tones I explore present very fine nuances and delicate modes of playing, which allow me to obtain a wide variety of expressions which would otherwise not be accessible; one finds therein a fragility in the sound, vibrations, granulation, a whole range of “parasitic” noises.

The name of the piece came to me during a discussion with a friend on this subject. He told me, “I need to hear it first,” and I then decided to simply call it that. The piece is divided into several small sections comprising words in Hebrew and English, which are a melange of all the names I wanted to give to the piece: Tetarim tetarim, Alma, Hie, Pash, Southwest, How many mics?, Acoustic fields, Northeast, Coda.

I need to hear it first was commissoned by Quasar. The work was premiered on May the 30th 2018, as part of the concert Territoires sonores.