for solo viola
The title of this work does not convey the most traditional characteristics we normally think of when we encounter the word. Perhaps the most prolific composer of caprices was Niccolò Paganini, but this piece hardly exhibits the same format as his caprices. At the same time, this piece is quite capricious, and it is from this that the piece receives its title. Its elements of virtuosity are a defining characteristic of the musical arch, which explores the development of slower lyrical music juxtaposed against faster and more explosive music. I wrote this piece specifically for Claire Peyrebrune, a close friend of mine since I arrived at CIM, and am very thankful for her dedication to this work of mine.
This orchestral work is dramatic and contains cinematic elements. Its story arch ventures through the gray areas of the protagonist's (or perhaps antagonist's) endeavors. The piece's textures create images of sorcery and experiment, hence its title, Mystic. This work was premiered and recorded in September of 2021.
This piece for solo piano visits gestural patterns, rhythmic groove, and sustained, free-flying suspension, in a single movement. It begins with a motif that returns in various forms throughout. The three-note statement is soon developed into an expanded form of the gesture, which becomes the foundation element of a much more rhythmically and metrically complex middle section. This section expands upon the more steady and linear statements of the theme. The energy that builds in this exploration of groove ultimately results in an arrival at a more expansive and free-moving release in the final section. This part of the piece allows all of the tension to manifest itself in the form of a more overarching and all-encompassing texture. The piece ends softly, reflecting on various elements and sonorities of the beginning in fragmented forms. I am very thankful to Margot Verstraeten for tackling this difficult piece.
ZEAL AND WHIMSY
This piece is a quirky, fun exploration of the woodwind quartet, characterized by fun, upbeat staccato music along with contrasting sections of legato, choral music. This was a first attempt of mine to write a piece for only woodwind instruments. Each is so unique in its own expression and character, which made way for a lot of different colors and gestures.
This piece explores elements of craftsmanship, as suggested by the rhythmic and woody texture of the marimba and the colorful expressions of the harp. Each movement is not necessarily intended to represent a different tool utilized by an artisan, but rather, personifies a different process or attention to detail. Two solo movements allow a chance for the elegance of the harp and the precision and clarity of the marimba to express themselves in a more unique sense. This particular duo was more of an experiment where I was able to explore two instruments with which I was far less accustomed.
STRING QUARTET NO. 1
This string quartet explores a multitude of emotions, conflicts, colors, and textures. The first movement opens with a sense of conflict and expands upon this throughout the movement. Between the faster sections of music are slower and more atmospheric sections, which offer a different perspective on the emotional energy of the movement.
The second movement further suspends this energy and develops upon the perspectives intermittently hinted at in the first movement. It utilizes solo voices and other more atmospheric textures to allow the conflict from the first movement to subside for a time of deeper reflection.
Three Sketches is a series of three short movements that each express a unique set of characters and emotions. The first movement passes many fragmented musical ideas between the different instruments, asking many musical questions without clear answers. Its more atmospheric sound creates a suspended musical environment for the listener.
The second movement is more quirky and playful, based on rhythmic exploration and contrapuntal themes. At three different points in the movement, the instruments come together and are unified in rhythm and character.
The third movement expands upon and explains much of the material stated in the first movement, answering questions, developing melodic material, and visiting a more concrete set of emotions. It utilizes cluster chords in the piano and elegant, sustained colors in the clarinet and cello to conclude in a place that is more clear and tranquil.
This piece conveys images of a daring individual, perhaps in his youth, attempting at a mischievous, somewhat comical, but adamantly unallowed deed. The low alto flute, bass clarinet, and vibes all create a sense of covertness. The first section is, perhaps, a time of contemplation and preparation for such an act, while the final section represents the young person running from reprimand. Does he escape or is he finally caught? You decide. This is the first performance of Escapade and I am very thankful to all the musicians for their excellent work on this piece.
I wrote Repartee specifically for my dear friend Sasha. The title is fitting; throughout the piece, the piano and violin very much poke fun at one another and engage in friendly dispute. Two cadenze allow the instruments to give their opinions uninterrupted. However, this form of debate does not last very long, and the conversation soon shifts back to interactive disagreement, of course laden with many moments of unity as well. Thankfully, the piece ultimately ends on a positive note.