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Pieces of Place: Chesapeake

by Hannah Selin

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m u s i c _ v i d e o : www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxGhiO1-QwU

The Pieces of Place series explores the impacts of global warming on places that I - and many many others - have called home. My goal is not only to make audible the complex processes involved, but also to make space and time for listeners to feel through these processes on a personal and emotional level. I hope this will help build strength for collective consciousness and action.

Pieces of Place: Chesapeake, the first in the series, is based on the northeastern side of the Chesapeake Bay, where I spent many childhood summers. The music is structured around three superimposed timescales: geological, human, and tidal. A sparse, continuous electronics part provides a kind of sonic horizon; it was created by slowing down and layering a recording of the waves at high tide.

The Chesapeake Bay began forming thirty-five million years ago when a giant meteor, perhaps more than two miles in diameter, collided near the present-day mouth of the Bay where it meets the Atlantic Ocean. The meteor was traveling around 70,000 miles per hour, and it created a massive tidal wave that wiped out much of the life on the surrounding land. Around 10,000 years ago, indigenous people began living in the area.

European colonists arrived around 500 years ago. In a short period of time, the Powhatan, Nanticoke, and Piscataway peoples, along with other indigenous peoples in the region, were forced out by violence, disease, and unfair negotiations with the colonists. Large-scale agriculture, livestock farming, deforestation, and heavy industry made the Chesapeake Bay one of the most toxic bodies of water in North America by the mid-1900s.

Rising sea levels, one of the many effects of human-caused climate change, are projected to cover the peninsula on which I composed this piece by the year 3000.

Many thanks to the Temple University New Music Ensemble, conductor Jan Krzywicki, guest guitarist Aaron Bobis, and engineer Sean Bailey for their great work recording Pieces of Place: Chesapeake during the pandemic.


released June 23, 2021
Temple University New Music Ensemble
Directed & conducted by Jan Krzywicki

Allyson Starr, flute/piccolo
Wendy Bickford, clarinet in A
Jason Steiner, violin
Chen Chen, violoncello
William Valencia, double bass
Aaron Bobis, electric guitar (special guest)
Maria Dell'Orefice, synthesizer
Lucas Conant, percussion

Engineered by Sean Bailey
Live electronics programmed by Jonah Pfluger
Mixed and mastered by Hannah Selin

© 2021 Hannah Selin, ASCAP
℗ 2021 Pyxidata Publishing, ASCAP


all rights reserved



Hannah Selin Brooklyn, New York

Hannah juxtaposes acoustic instruments with voices, electronics, and field recordings to create strikingly vibrant sound-worlds. She is a founding member of the band GADADU (www.gadadu.com), and Xanthoria Quartet (www.xanthoriaquartet.com).

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