clarinet and small ensemble

To make graffiti is to create one’s art on the art of someone else. This can be an irreverent act, like painting a moustache on the Mona Lisa, but it can also be an act of protest or of social critique. In apocryphal graffiti, or “tagging,” the written texts both reveal and conceal their identity. Since the letters are highly stylized, the words reveal themselves to the insider but conceal themselves from the uninitiated. The text is in disguise, thus the label apocryphal. While graffiti is normally a visual medium, in this work I have used analogous techniques to compose my music on top of the music of other composers. As well, the conductor and the performers are occasionally given the freedom to create their own improvised tags on top of my music. In certain instances, I have even removed graffiti, leaving empty spaces in the original musical wall.

Apocryphal Graffiti was composed in collaboration with the choreographer Isabelle Van Grimde for the ECM’s Unions Libres event in 2000. The current version has been extensively revised for concert performance.

Sean Ferguson

  • Score available at CMC, Région du Québec.
  • Recording: CD: Atma ACD 2 2208 «Nouveaux territoires 02»