Between Two Chasms
Concerto for Violin and Sinfonietta
2018, 31 minutes
1111. 11,1(BTbn),1. Timp+2perc. Hp,Pno, 2111, Violin soloist.
soloist: Clara Kim, violin. Performed by the USC Thornton Edge - conducted by Donald Crockett.
I often discuss music with other composers and musicians, and in doing so I have noticed a trend that has fascinated me and influenced much of my work: we often use dichotomies to simplify our discussions and try to make sense of what is going on in our world. Old music vs. new music. Contemporary audiences vs. conservative audiences. Popular vs. serious. Experimental music vs…music-music? The list goes on and on. Everything is against something opposite. Between Two Chasms is a response to this fascination. Not an argument, not a solution, not a manifesto. Simply an attempt to put these thoughts down in some form, and see if any balance comes of it.
The concerto is a series of impressions on the idea of balance, filtered through my 4 years living in Los Angeles reimagined as a cyberpunk landscape from the works of Dick or Gibson, nostalgic nods to my earliest musical memories and fantasy worlds, esoteric references which mostly no one will understand, and a search for long-form music outside the classical music repertoire. The piece is formed of 15 sections performed without break:
I. Mirrors on 564th Street
III. Psygnosis 1
IV. W A V E S Z O N E
V. Grid to Ocean
VI. Light Grid
VII. If it Rains…
VIII. Reflections on 564th
IX. Learning Curve
X. Cadenza Bonus
XI. Obligatory Sewer Level
XII. Psygnosis 2
XIII. Rain Repeat
The violin soloist is a sort of traveler in this bizarre world. The player sometimes leads the orchestra, sometimes must follow, sometimes flies out of control, sometimes stands perfectly still. Occasionally there are rules as to how the violin and orchestra relate to each other, but other times the music is not really interested in such things. Three themes appear throughout the work to offer an anchor, like memories in a being otherwise lost in a world that’s too big.
My ever grateful thanks to Clara Kim for her suggestion to collaborate on a piece with Edge, and her great friendship and support.