Friday’s Sounding #20: Predictably Unpredictable

In 1994 I composed a work for oboe, clarinet and bassoon (known as a reed trio). The piece is in two parts. This sound file is the first part with a duration of five and one half minutes. This movement explores fragmented mercurial patterns that organically unfold from a moto perpetuo texture.

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The opening couple of measures presents two pieces of material, a chromatic noodling line that is broken into fragments, actually motives that will be explored later in the piece, between the parts and multiple octaves. The contrast between the smallest interval (the half step) and the largest interval (the octave) would be puerile if it weren’t for the unpredictability of how the noodling line is broken up and when the octaves interrupt the line. This seemingly desultory relationship actually creates an energy on the verge of being almost out of control. The idea of has interested me for almost as long as I have been composing.

I used this idea again in my woodwind quintet a year later but expanded. However, it is such a simple and fun idea that it could be used with many variations with any size ensemble.

Next week I will upload the second part, Song.

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About Mark

American composer of music.
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