Catalog Composition

I want to unfold

Just finished (as of three hours ago) my latest composition, I want to unfold, written for the Mana Quartet.

I’m very, very excited about this piece. I’ve been working on it steadily since around mid-May, and I’m particularly excited that it’s an electroacoustic piece. This will be my third EA piece to date, and it’s by far my most ambitious.

I want to unfold explores contextual variations. The tape part features two recantations of a poem by Rilke against a mercurially shifting background of many different highly modified samples. The poem is central during the introduction and development of the material played by the saxophones. Similar material is played by the saxophones during both recantations, yet the mood is quite different. By the time of the second recantation, the saxophone’s music has undergone a metamorphosis from an independent ensemble’s own internal dialogue, to a dissolving mirror image trying to move forward against an indifferent and evolving backdrop.

The music – beginning as a stumbling gentle choral that unfurls into a wild frenzy of wide leaps and extreme voice leading – grows out of the Rilke introduction and dissolves into different solos (each variations of the different internal and external lines previously heard together) and fragments. As the darkness of the tape part’s dream-like passage lightens, synthetic strings emerge to lift the ensemble from a static pool of harmony, again accompanied by Rilke’s mystical words, into declarative, resolvant gestures, eventually giving way to a sparce variant on the stumbling choral.

I want to unfold will be premiered on November 12th at the New Festival of American Music in Sacramento, CA.



By Jay

Composer, guitarist, husband, father, pun enthusiast.

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