I began writing “Impressions” with a handful of self-consciously simple ideas in mind. I was thinking about how so many of the composers I admire can take what is basically a very simple idea, an idea that can seem almost naïve to begin with, put it through their compositional mill, and end up with surprisingly complex results. This was a process I wanted to somehow try and replicate in my own music. I based each movement on just one or two very simple ideas, and, at the very least, I would try to keep the clarity and definition of these basic ideas in tact as I began to fleshed them out: gradually moving from unpitched to pitched sound (or less sonorous to more sonorous) in the first movement; a slow, unaccompanied melody played in unison, but somehow “blurred” in the second movement; and a “tintinnabulation” of high-pitched sounds, and another unison, this time fragmented (“splintered”) rather than blurred in the third movement. I wanted to move towards complexity but not complicatedness, and, above all, I wanted results that were very musical. I also wanted each movement to have an almost self-contained musical language - movements that are very different to one another, at least on the surface. I wanted them to be almost like a set of style studies, but of no styles in particular. That said, the “style” of each movement is not unique. There are clear influences at play. (This was an exercise in craft more than anything else, and I felt easy about writing something that is so clearly in debt to the craft of others.)

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ACO Performances

21st Underwood New Music Readings (2012)

June 1, 2012 8:00 am
Miller Theater at Columbia University

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