for 15 players
Instrumentation: Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Contrabassoon, Horn, Trumpet, Bass Trombone, 2 Percussion (Hi-hat, Suspended Cymbals [Large & Small], Brake Drum, Kick Drum, Bass Drum, Marimba), Piano, Violin 1, Violin 2, Viola, Cello, Contrabass
The Sinfonietta is an exploration of the characters and tendencies of contrasting bits of musical material. In writing the piece, I was interested in both how these bits themselves could develop and unfold, and, perhaps more importantly, how they could interact with and influence one another. I begin the piece by presenting three distinct, fragmented ideas: a crass, unison melodic line in the upper voices; a shimmering, homophonic fragment in the flute, viola, and cello; and a growling, beat-oriented accompaniment in the contrabassoon, low brass, percussion, piano, and strings. From very early on, the dominant character of the melody and the accompanimental figures becomes apparent, and the homophonic fragment is quickly excluded from the conversation after a series of interruptions. Over the course of the piece, it makes several brief and timid attempts at rejoining its peers. The similar but distinct three-voice chorale in the upper register of the piano is more persistent, though—floating above the rest of the texture—it seems as if the other parts are completely unaware of its presence. With the ever-intensifying melodic and accompanimental material taking center stage, the homophonic material is forced out of the conversation until the others have exhausted their aggressive energies in a relentless, driving climax. It is only here that the space finally clears for the homophonic music to present itself in full, and a brief interaction with the piano chorale reveals that both sets of material are indeed closely connected. However, we find that this music is in fact an incomplete, directionless idea that gradually collapses and dissipates into silence.