ThruDimension (2015) – for wind ensemble (11′)
Preface to ThruDimension
-This work for wind ensemble explores the connection between time, cognition, and perception. Textures and gestures evolve slowly, but as soon as they begin changing, the effect is exponential. The work opens with a long bass clarinet solo, gradually introducing us to the first “dimension.” The piece is separated into two “dimensions” that are connected by various shades of noise from the percussion and fast, expressive solos across the ensemble. The first dimension is one full of perpetual rhythmic activity coupled with harmonic swells sweeping through the ensemble, with each part focusing on one or two pitches. In this way, there is a constant shift between driving rhythms and static melodic lines, sweeping dynamic contrasts and stagnant harmonic areas, all amassing to create an exponentially evolving world. There is a brief glimpse of the second dimension within the first, like a pocket in time, before one final shout and a transition to the next area. The second dimension is characterized by very quiet, muted tones and rumbles in the low brass and winds. The harp and piano eventually enter, mazily outlining a melody from each dimension. The clarinets move wildly through these melodies very quietly, undulating and flowing like a current. Soon the texture breaks down and the representative from each dimension, the harp and the piano, both finish as if they had never begun, the rest of the ensemble limping out except for the flutes, playing long-tones and mazy glisses, and the incessant ratchets, each reminding us of the constantly moving flow of time. Finally, both dimensions collide in a bursting texture of wild activity and shouting stasis, both fighting for the forefront; however, the tam-tam quickly overcomes all except the harp which continues playing madly until the reminder of time, the ratchet, abruptly ends everything.
Throughout the work are numerous long-tones that are impossible in one breath; this is integral to the piece. Instead of employing the usual compositional tricks to hide or mask the limitations of the winds, this work embraces them. Each performer is constantly working against the limitations of their breath, and when each has to breathe, small pockets are created in the texture, like little flares. In doing so, each performance of the work has variance in when these pockets and holes occur, creating different texture densities depending on each player’s endurance for each performance.