Percussion I: vibraphone, wood blocks, log drum
Percussion II: marimba, crotales
Percussion III: glockenspiel, xylophone, wood chimes, claves
Duration: c. 14'
In several of my pieces, a given musical unit gradually breaks apart as its components move in contrary motion, separating themselves registrally. In this work I use the same approach, only on the more abstract harmonic level, without affecting register. The opening chord, stated fortissimo in resonating instruments, comprises the two all-interval tetrachords. Throughout the piece, the pitch classes of one tetrachord modulate up in half-step increments, while the pitch classes of the other tetrachord modulate down in the same fashion, presenting four new stages of the original chord. This careful pitch control, while not readily audible on a surface level, lends a subtly unique palette to each section. At the arrival of each new chord stage, the opening declamatory gesture returns before the new harmony explores its own gestural idea.
An important structural element, directly related to the above strategy, is the "harmonic review". Soon after a new stage of the main chord is reached, a more focused, contrapuntal section serves as a recap of the harmonic progress to that point. Because this recap always goes back to the opening chord, these sections grow increasingly significant as the work progresses, offering a certain formal ambiguity to the piece as a whole. The final large gesture of the piece is a harmonic review of the entire composition. Each player works through the recap with free acceleration and deceleration however, in effect blurring the harmonic palette of the composition together in one final wash.
The title of this piece is borrowed from the final section of Peter Gizzi's stunning poem, A panic that can still come upon me. While writing this trio, I kept returning to his work and was struck by its tone, and its bright imagery. Along with my personal affinity for his work, it occurred to me that the chord stages in my piece do, quite literally, "imprint a sound" on their respective sections. I thank Peter for so graciously lending me his words.
This piece is dedicated to TimeTable, for whom it has been a great honor and privilege to write, and I offer them my most sincere gratitude for their work.