'A Short Piece of Decay' is a composition for the ensemble Black Pencil. It's a piece for panflute, blockflute, percussion, viola, accordion, soundtrack and live processing. To be premiered on July 6 2014 in Lingen, Germany.

'A Short Piece of Decay' is about the process of cooking a dish from basic ingredients that is subsequently being devoured.

"How does the living organism avoid decay? The obvious answer is: by eating, drinking, breathing and (in the case of plants) assimilating. The technical term is metabolism. What is that precious something contained in our food which keeps us from death? That is easily answered. Every process, event, happening (call it what you will; in a word, everything that is going on in Nature) means an increase of the entropy of the part of the world where it is going on. Thus a living organism continually increases its entropy (or, as you may say, produces positive entropy) and thus tends to approach the dangerous state of maximum entropy, which is of death. It can only keep aloof from it (i.e. alive), by continually drawing from its environment negative entropy -which is something very positive as we shall immediately see. What an organism feeds upon is negative entropy. Or, to put it less paradoxically, the essential thing in metabolism is that the organism succeeds in freeing itself from all the entropy it cannot help producing while alive." From 'What is life?' (1944) by Erwin Schrödinger

'A Short Piece of Decay' is a continuation of a train of thought that has also produced the compositions 'The First Law of Kipple' (2012) and 'Stranger' (2008). Composition by decomposition.
Further reading: 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' by Robert M. Pirsig and 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep' by Philip K. Dick.

Commissioned by the Black Pencil ensemble and written under a composition stipend from the Performing Arts Fund NL.

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