Folksongspiccolo, percussion, harp (2010)
|Commission||Ralph Kaminsky and Hester Diamond|
|Premiere||March 28th, 2011; Symphony Space, New York, NY; MAYA Trio|
Folksongs is a piece about transformation and dichotomy. Its premise is to use very simple, almost homely materials, and to transform and manipulate them in complex ways.
The first movement uses a melody that sounds like a traditional Celtic or English pennywhistle tune, with a rhythmic pattern of non-metrically placed accents in the Doumbek, underneath all of which non-tonal and lush harmonies are spun out in the harp. These three strata change places instrumentally throughout the movement.
The second movement draws inspiration from a choir singing homophonic music—the collective force of rhythmic unison. Here, the two patterns are rhythmic and melodic: a color and a talea of differing lengths, so that the movement’s completion is not reached until these elements’ ends coincide.
The third movement is a piccolo solo, with three punctuating notes at various points from the harp and gong. It is a simple, songful melody: a shepherd playing for himself on a lonely hill.
The fourth and final movement is similar to the first in the non-metrically placed accents in the rhythmic patterns of the harp and tongue-drum. The melodic material is drawn from a simple 9-note scale in an E-based mode. The melodic pattern is stated three times at varying speeds in the piccolo, which is joined by a mensuration canon in the harp in the middle of the movement.
This piece was premiered by the MAYA trio, for whom it was commissioned and written.