To Elsewhere (2010)
Colin Carey, Mary Claxton, Chris Halbauer, and David Sumner, percussion
To Elsewhere is an evolution of a conversation between wood and metal. The two-against-three argument begins with a murmuring sandblock and triangle. The Fibonaccci series is used to calculate the entrances of the pitched instruments; the vibraphone and chimes, and marimba and xylophone play in opposing octatonic scales. After their climax, the dispute drops to a whisper, and new non-pitched instruments are introduced. It eventually develops into a full-out brawl with taiko drum and congas against cymbal and brake drum. In the end they forget what they are fighting about. They are distracted by thoughts of other things they want to do and other places they want to be. The quartet finishes in a manner similar to Haydn's "Farewell" Symphony by walking off the stage.
Alex Jacques, conductor; Stephanie Dietz, Abby Doering, Leisa Sunier, sopranos; Jennifer Lange, Lauren Schell, Britney Shattuck, altos; Tomas Dominguez, Eric Frei, Ben Hase, tenors; Joe Aumann, Ben Bedroske, Evan Wilberg, basses; Chris Halbauer, congas; David Sumner, tambourine
A liquid minute runs
As the blossom creases her lids.
A crisp day dries up
As the river rushes away.
A gusty month escapes
As the tree shudders his skin.
A burning year crackles
As the sun sinks down the horizon.
Don't wish away the waiting,
Wallowing lull of everyday life.
"Slow Bleak Awakening from the Morning Dream \ Brings Me in Contact with the Sudden Day" (2010)
Matthew Turek, euphonium; Anna Torgerson, piano
"Slow Bleak Awakening . . . " was inspired by the poem Living by Harold Monro (1879-1932). I used the words of the poem as material to derive the exaggerated contour and articulation of the music. There is no notation of meter or note duration, because the performer plays in the tempo and rhythm of theatrical speech as if the euphonium is delivering a monologue. Each note corresponds to a syllable from the text (which is transcribed in the score), and after the first stanza, that section is directly repeated in a freer interpretation. The following four stanzas are a blend of the two styles. I used Luciano Berio's Sequenza V as a model for the relation to theatrics and extended techniques for a solo low brass instrument. Multiphonics, flutter-tonguing, speaking, singing, and other techniques accentuate certain words and phrases. The piano accompanies with clouds of vibrations from the euphonium's sound, mocking plucked motives, and flourishes of color.
Tam Tam Timbre (2010)
Justin Kevan, tenor saxophone; David Sumner, tam-tam
Tam Tam Timbre is a study on color and timbre. The focus of the piece is the variety of sounds that can be produced on saxophone, and the fluctuation of sounds that can be generated on a tam-tam (non-pitched gong).
A Missouri Evening (2010)
This piece is an ode to my childhood. It is a conglomeration of sound memories including cicadas, traffic, rain, and Mozart. I used a pitch-class set that produces mainly minor thirds and seconds and creates a dark backdrop for the piece; distortion is used to represent the electric-like glow of fireflies.
Up Tight Break Down (2010)
Mary Zimmerman, piano
I began composing this piece as 2009 was coming to a close. I had just made it through an unsound time of my life, and I was ready to diverge from the direction I was headed. I took my tension, stress, and fear; smashed, crumpled, and crammed it all together; and threw it at a piano. It is a bang-on-the-keys kind of work that aims to release the nature of power and vengeance that is concealed inside a piano. The dissonant pitch-class sets  and , rhythmic calamity, and shrill cluster chords turn agitation into excitement. As an outlet for my nervous energy, it is an effusive and trying solo that is meant to inspire release and rejuvenation.