Essence of the Web
Essence of the Web is a sextet for percussion ensemble that was commissioned by Harvey Price for the UD Percussion ensemble and was first performed last fall. The concept for the piece was to use polymeter (overlaying repeating phrases of different lengths) to create points of change. Some parts would play more than one meter on their own, and other parts would come in with completely new meters to further complicate the rhythmic texture. Eventually, all of these phrases will line up, and it is at that point that the section of the piece comes to an end and a new idea can be explored, spinning this web of complexity that has all of these connecting points.
In collaboration with local videographer John Palmer of Visual Arts Media, the work was recorded at the end of December. Five of the parts were performed via video, and one performed live, albeit with some improvisation thrown in. This is that video, just with the 6th part's audio kept in.
Coalescence generally is defined as when two or more particles or entities merge into one. The term is used to refer to different iterations of this phenomenon in physics, computers, linguistics, genetics, and chemistry. This piece starts by focusing on one ‘particle,’ or in a more literal sense, note, slowly adding two more to create a texture to house the main melody. Later on, the climatic point of the piece takes place when a pattern is slowly changed and built up to become a rhythm from earlier on in the work. What started as a couple of water drops has become an emotional, torrential downpour. However, every storm will always die down to nothing given enough time.
Creation Myth mvmt II: Mechanics - Mark Hagerty
Creation Myth is a suite for solo marimba/percussion by composer Mark Hagerty written for Chen Zimbalista, a percussion soloist and conductor in Israel. The second movement, Mechanics, represents the many orbiting bodies of our solar system, many moving parts each having a ritual cycle but independent of one another. Hagerty represents this by creating musical lines and phrases of different lengths/meters and layering them on top of one another. Musically known as polymeter, the technique is executed to surprising effect.
I have been fortunate enough to collaborate with Hagerty on the work, expanding on his ideas to add even more layers of melody to the movement, including a designated spot for improvisation.
Greed, Envy, and Sorrow (Waulking in the Glen)
Greed, Envy, and Sorrow is an aria from the opera, Waulking in the Glen, which is currently a finalist for the 2018-19 American Prize in composition. The opera focuses on the stories of several women in late 1790s Scotland: their hopes, dreams and woes. Ailsa was deserted by her husband, left with no answers and only a broken heart. This caused her once caring personality to split into three: shock, rage, and only leftover pieces of her past self, simply hoping he is okay. The original poetry by Robert Burns was cut up into pieces to additionally reflect the chaotic connections taking place within her mind, the result being barely understandable by an outside party, while original words when pieced together correctly reflect the soft person she truly is.