Also known as Toccata IV, The Weather Riots was written for Number Night, which was part of Concerten Tot en Met, a concert series I organized dedicated to new and experimental chamber music in Amsterdam. The idea behind Number Night was that the notations invented by John Cage for his late works such as Music For... and the "number pieces" could be seen as defining a genre, similar to Mass, Fugue or Sonata Form, that can have stylistic meaning beyond Cage's own style and aesthetic interests. I asked six composers to write new pieces based on Cage's stopwatch notation, The Weather Riots being my own contribution.
The piece is written for a minimum of two and a maximum of a few
thousand of high instruments, which may include flutes, clarinets,
oboes, pianos, vibraphones, violins, etc. In The Weather Riots, each
performer plays his/her own version of the same part which (s)he has
prepared in advance, choosing for each 'time bracket' a number (1 to 6)
of melodic fragments from a given collection of fragments. These can
then be combined in many ways. Inevitably, there will be echoes or other
relations of similarity between the parts. The fragment collections
themselves change shape slowly over time, sometimes foregrounding
certain contour types, sometimes certain harmonies, sometimes certain
articulations, sometimes broadening scope, sometimes narrowing scope.
They define the musical space that the performers each can articulate in
their own way: a counterpoint of personalities.