(unfolding from unity)cello (2008)
|Movements||I. mysterious, steady yet hesitant, with tension|
II. faster, quick and light
III. slower. mysterious, playful
IV. fast, Heavy Dance-like
|Premiere||February 20, 2008; Austrian Cultural Forum, New York, NY; Alex Waterman, cello|
This is the third piece, and the last of the solo works, from my Flow Cycle for Strings. Islamic pattern drawings and music encountered during a recent trip to Morocco both presented an intriguing concept of infinity. In the drawings, simple tools are used to expand upon circles, forming hexagrams and other geometrically perfect shapes. The shapes themselves are not infinite, but their layered intersection and elaborate extension imply a plane stretching well beyond the borders of the wall or door they decorate. This "implied infinity" is a concept that works very well in musical terms, as a step beyond more literal translations of infinity as simple repetition of motives or chords.
Moroccan Flow is a study in translating the 'flow' of these endless lines that pass from one hexagram to the next into a musical line. In addition to integrating a Moroccan dance-like motive of irregular time, it explores a similarity noted in how a six-sided shape fills in a circle, which musically relates to the circular organization of the twelve notes we have in equal-temperament: the circle of fifths. This piece was written for Alex Waterman, to whom it is dedicated.
“intriguing, enigmatic and eloquent,” (Bruce Hodges, Music Web UK)
The Flow Cycle is influenced by Islamic Mosaics, Gnawa music of Morocco, Albert Camus' L'Étranger, and the Flow concept of Csíkszentmihályi. While the first work, "in flow" for solo violin, uses an expansive linear approach to compose 'flow' of unrelated materials, each subsequent work (Shadow Flow for viola, Moroccan Flow (unfolding from unity) for 'cello, Duo Flow for violin and 'cello, and "à cause du soleil" Flow Trio for String Trio) uses a sectional approach to create a mosaic-like experience of flow that is reflected in each of the works, which can be performed separately.