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Nathaniel Stookey

Publisher: AMP

YTTE (Yield To Total Elation, for chamber orchestra) (2016)
Work Notes
Projections by Adam Larsen are available for hire via G. Schirmer. Contact Oliver DiCicco at for Oove instrument rental information.
Associated Music Publishers Inc
Sub Category
Chamber Orchestra
Year Composed
22 Minutes
Programme Note
Nathaniel Stookey YTTE (Yield To Total Elation, for chamber orchestra) (2016)
Related works:
   YTTE (Yield To Total Elation, for chamber orchestra)
   YTTE (Yield To Total Elation, for full orchestra)

Composer note:
YTTE (Yield To Total Elation) is the name of an elaborate imaginary city created by San Francisco “outsider” artist A.G. Rizzoli beginning in the mid-1930s. I first came across it in a newspaper article and, from the moment I read those words, I thought: This is how I want music to feel.

All of my greatest musical experiences—from playing Brahms or Webern at the heart of an orchestra, to hearing a great jazz player kick it up to the next level in a packed and breathless club, to feeling a DJ drive a collective gear-change for hundreds of people simultaneously—have this in common: a moment when the music we’ve been processing in our minds, a succession of interrelated patterns, suddenly becomes something we feel collectively in our bodies. It may not happen consistently, even with the same music, but, for me, yielding to total elation is the ideal. It’s why I do what I do.

From very early in my career, I have built my work for and with artists I admire, maybe because I feel that gives me a better chance of tapping in to this central nerve of shared experience.

In addition to A.G. Rizzoli, I would like to thank the musicians of the San Francisco Symphony—with whom I’ve been collaborating most of my life!—and especially Timothy Higgins, Mark Grisez, Jerome Simas, and Jacob Nissly, all of whom gave me invaluable feedback on the piece as it evolved.

'OOVE' aluminum, wood, magnetic pickups, driver circuits. 64"H x 19"W x 20"D ©: 1994
Throughout my work on YTTE, I was inspired by the instruments and sound sculptures of Oliver DiCicco, whose haunting Sirens were featured in an earlier installment of SoundBox. DiCicco’s OOVE, an electro-acoustic stringed instrument, provides the harmonic background from which YTTE emerges; later, the OOVE rejoins the orchestra—which has gone very far afield in the meantime—as though to remind us of that lineage.

The OOVE doesn’t have a written part but, because it shares the orchestra’s harmonies, it is able to mirror what it hears, both on its own, through the sympathetic vibration of its strings, and on behalf of the performer.

For me, playing the OOVE, as I will be in these performances, is like being wired to a machine that first generates the music—my own music, composed over many months!—and then registers my responses in real time! It’s a surreal compression of experience for which the conductor’s score gives only one instruction:
"Give in to it."

—Nathaniel Stookey

Arguably, the biggest success of the night followed, with another SFS commission, Nathaniel Stookey's YTTE (Yield to Total Elation) for mixed large ensemble and OOVE (kinetic sound sculpture designed by Oliver DiCicco). The score lives up to its name, cresting and flowing melodically with thrilling immediacy. The visuals added to the exhilarating effect, but YTTE would probably raise goosebumps even in the dark.
Philip Campbell, The Bay Area Reporter,28/04/2016
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