By Lewis Spratlan | For Seven Musicians | 17′
Composer: Lewis Spratlan
Year Composed: 2011
Instrumentation: For Seven Musicians (Flute/Bass Flute/Piccolo, Tenor Saxophone, Violin, Soprano, Percussion [marimba, anvil, crotales, cuica, drum kit], Piano, Electronics)
Format: Full Score
Page Size: Tabloid, landscape (17″x11″)
Catalog Number: OM0415
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From the composer:
The form of the piece is process-bulge-process-bulge-process-bulge. (Imagine a snake that has eaten three big meals several days apart.) The process sections are single-minded and concerned almost exclusively with problem solving, using rigorous procedures. The bulge sections are freer, more fanciful, and more expressive, and stand in strong contrast to the processes with which they are paired.
Process I involves an incremental descent from the C# an octave above middle C to the D a just step above it. In Bulge I the vocal part attempts to establish a lyrical domain but has trouble, battered by contrary forces. Process/Bulge II are about the intake and exhalation of air, respectively –– that is, breathing. Throughout, instruments are secondary to a wide range of vocal sounds. Process III is a fugue, among the most venerable process-oriented musical genres. It takes on a more expressive character than the other processes, challenging the purity of the piece’s premise and introducing a dark element that seems foreign. The responding Bulge III is largely a manic celebration that tries to restore the prevailing levity, only to succumb, with great struggle, to the fugue’s gloom. The music overspills its boundaries at the end.
Commission/Dedication: To the Wet Ink Ensemble.
Premiere: First performed April 30, 2011 in New York City by the Wet Ink Ensemble.