david shea

The Book of Scenes


CD jewel case

SR224 /

This record by David Shea is the seventh (of seven) made for Sub Rosa. Published in 2004.

The Book of Scenes is a collection of pieces for Viola and Piano.
Each piece is a single scene and, scored on a single page and. It places the players and the instrument in different situations and relationships to each other and sampled recordings of themselves as well as the electronic environment the duo performs in. The work can be played in any order and the sequence is chosen before hand by the players. The scenes explore solo and duo playing, and musical roles inside of shifting contexts, many related to visual references, films and iconic memories.

This record presents Book I; the first 29 pieces performed live with some scenes constructed electronically from samples and memories of other scenes. Many of the sections are visual in nature, for example where the alto player bows his instrument while the pianist places his hands on the viola's neck and chooses the notes to be played followed by the alto player placing his hands inside the piano to mute the pianist notes, as well as a scene where the players are blindfolded.


John Zorn cohort and luminary of the Downtown scene, David Shea has always been able to fuse twentieth century classical disciplines with electronic tinkering in a unique way. Equally at home with a sampler as he is a conventional score, Shea themes this album around the dislocation and transplantation of conventional classical performers (a violist and pianist) via all manner of different recordings - some are field recordings of various environments or settings, while others are recordings of the players themselves, overlaying the duo's own real-time performances. Consequently, The Book Of Scenes is all about dialogue - that between the two instrumentalists, and that between acoustic, temporal reality and its electronic counterpart. Not only does this succeed as an intriguing concept, it's also executed beautifully making for 29 adventurous pieces of music. Quite brilliant.
(from Boomcat)


David Shea is a composer working with combinations of samplers and live musicians, centered on the possibilities of electronic and acoustic traditions. The focus is on the interconnections between styles, histories and mediums with single pieces containing multiple layering's of compositional methods, electronic and acoustic orchestrations - . Drawing from experimental music and film music influences as well as traditional musics from both Eastern and Western cultures, many pieces are based on films, novels, mythology and visual sources.

Performed by

DAVID SHEA (samplers)


01 Air 1:07
02 Vertical Shapes 2:39
03 OM Chapelle 2:57
04 Prepared 3:15
05 Cadenza Piano 1:08
06 Cadenza Violin 1:49
07 Radio Weekend 1:49
08 Wood 1:34
09 Metal 2:02
10 Water / Fire 1:24
11 Time 0:53
12 Crossings 0:44
13 Walkabout 0:50
14 Machines 0:51
15 I C 0:49
16 Spaces 3:06
17 Air Jungle 1:03
18 Exotique 1:12
19 Alternation 2:08
20 Memory Lane 1:17
21 Sunrise 2:16
22 Drumming 2:02
23 Spaces 1:29
24 Heartbeat 1:05
25 Bows 1:42
26 Dangerous Ground 2:18
27 Chase 2:17
28 Harmony 2:02
29 Elegy 2:20