Cross sections (2009)

Duration: ca. 9′
Instrumentation: Chamber orchestra
Commissioned by the UIUC New Music Ensemble

Cross sections was composed after a period of close study of Ligeti’s piano concerto, especially the first movement, in which he uses different layered time frames – one in eighths and one in sixteenths, with different accents and arrangements. In a nod to Ligeti, my own piece includes the oboe d’amore and harpsichord from his Chamber Concerto and borrows the idea of layered time frames. My own structure uses eighths, triplets, and sixteenths, in patterns of different lengths. Not all of them are present at all times, but they run continuously underneath the texture in silence, so that when they appear again they appear exactly where they should be. A series of random processes governed choices such as which pitch classes were available, how much of a particular time frame is present, and even which instruments would be used. These long sections are separated by two interludes, which use a gradually rising ostinato in the keyboard and other instruments alongside a lyrical countermelody, initially stated in octaves and later in parallel chords of interlocking fifths.


February 2010 – Urbana, IL (world history)
Stephen Taylor, conductor
UIUC New Music Ensemble