On 16 November Yaron Deutsch released a new live recording of Lisa Illean’s Tiding for solo electric guitar. The recording captures the US premiere of the piece at New York’s TIME:SPANS festival on 22 August this year. It is available to purchase through Bandcamp here.

Like many of Illean’s pieces Tiding uses non-standard tunings. Each guitar string is retuned to an overtone of an 11 hertz ground fundamental. “It took me a long time to find the tunings—the right ‘colour’—for this piece”, Illean says. “Finding this was so important because in a way it is a monochrome piece: each phrase is a subtly different shade of the same hue.”

Deutsch also recently performed the piece at the Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik in May 2022. Tiding was premiered online in 2021 by Huw Davies; it was commissioned by the London Sinfonietta. Tiding has also been performed by Sean Shibe at the Norwich and Norfolk Festival this year. Sam Cave has programmed the piece at two London concerts in early 2022, at City University (14 February) and in Ealing (26 February).

Illean’s piece is partly inspired by the work of artist Christine Baumgartner, especially her 2013 woodcut Deep Water. “I like her work very much”, says Illean, “…in particular how this image evokes the perception of a liquid form through very precise means…I think—or hope—this might relate to the tunings and especially to the rhythms in Tiding, which aim to create something aqueous and fluid through their subtle detail.”

The 7-minute piece was shaped by Illean’s childhood experiences of listening to the sound of the ocean at the seashore. Illean recalls submerging her head and hearing “the world sounding through water…patterns of distant chattering mingling with the periodic rubbing of the sea.”

Tiding is part of an ongoing series of pieces by Illean which explores elemental patterns; Tiding II, for saxophone, percussion, piano and electronics, was premiered in 2021 by Trio Accanto and the SWR Experimental Studio at the  Donaueschinger Musiktage.

On 17 November Renaud Déjardin and Hideki Nagano from Ensemble intercontemporain premiered Illean’s latest chamber work ever-weaver for cello and piano at the Philharmonie de Paris. Like Tiding, ever-weaver uses unconventional tunings in order to summon more remote reaches of the harmonic spectrum.