two pianos

Duration: c. 10'

The duplicate instrumentation of Stereophonic suggested certain ideas to me about the relationship between the two instruments, and the way in which the musical material in general relates to its own altered replication. At times, the two instruments share an antiphonal relationship, modifying prevalent figures and gestures through repetition, while in other areas, the players are united in gesture, but discrepancies of pitch, tempo, or timbre lend a certain degree of tension and instability.

A calm slower section, serving as the composition's centerpiece, abandons these configurations in favor of more gradual change. Here, there is an absence of figurative motive, and it is the texture itself which is manipulated. Amidst a mass of gently floating pitches, occasional staccato notes in one piano puncture the surface and begin to influence the other player's line as the hazy texture crystallizes into short, rapid arpeggio figures.

The interplay between the pianos, and the influence that each exerts on the other, is also projected on a large-scale harmonic level. In this work, each of the first five interval classes is associated with a large chord that generates the pitch material for its section. Each chord is in turn associated with a particular group of figures. As the piece progresses, however, this fixed relationship begins to break down as figures and harmonic fields formerly independent of one another begin to intermingle. Along with this exchange, the established figures themselves interact more freely and exhibit greater flexibility, often fragmenting spatially across the two instruments.

Stereophonic was written for Daniel Schlosberg and Amy Briggs, who premiered the work on April 14, 2010 at the University of Notre Dame.