Compression Waves (2005)


For orchestra

Piccolo – 2 Flutes – 2 Oboes – 2 Clarinets in B-flat – 2 Bassoons
4 Horns in F – 3 Trumpets in C – 2 Trombones – Bass Trombone – Tuba
Timpani – Percussion (2 players): glockenspiel, xylophone, woodblock, temple blocks (5), suspended cymbal near small/medium triangle, finger cymbals, large tam-tam, tambourine, brake drum, snare drum, bass drum near large triangle, rainstick
Solo violin – Strings

Premiere and recording source:
Peabody Symphony Orchestra / Ana Brajovic, conductor
Friedberg Hall, Peabody Conservatory, Baltimore, MD
Spring 2005

Program Notes:

This work, my "Master's thesis" for my Master's degree in music composition, explores the microscopic world of the interval, rarely heard or considered on its own, as experienced through gradually shortening periods of time.  It begins with a simple B octave, first in the high strings and winds and gradually descending into the lower-pitched instruments (with some commentary from the timpani).  At the moment of complete saturation, fifty-seven measures into the piece, the upper B of the octave descends a half-step and becomes Bb (or A#) and the process begins again, but lasts for only forty-nine measures until the lower B raises a half-step and becomes C and the orchestral development begins anew.  In this way, the original interval of the B octave compresses, gradually but in ever-faster waves, until – after the dust settles after the interval of a minor second – all that’s left is a solitary F, played by the solo violin just as it played the B’s to begin the piece.