Sunburst Carousel Performance Note

Commissioned by the Louisiana Music Teachers Association and the National Music Teachers Association

Written for Quartetto Obrigado (Griffin Campbell, Taylor Barbay Assad, Brina Bourliea Faciane, Jennifer Foret)

Premiered on October 13th, 2017 at the LMTA Conference at the University of New Orleans

A brisk, high-energy single movement, this work is inspired by the voracious curiosity of my eighteen-month old son who is constantly fascinated by the world around him. As he learns and grows, the world around him opens up with each waking moment. A new friend he meets, new toy he plays with, new place he visits becomes a fresh window of opportunity for discovery (and, of course, for mischief).  I wish to instill in the piece this voracious appetite for ever-present newness and freshness of the world in which we live daily. At the same time, I wanted to instill a sense of near recklessness, as if the propulsion of discovery takes the music to the brink of continuous collapse and exhaustion – an inevitable byproduct of the child’s insatiable inquiries!

Over the course of the work, the instruments state and develop four unique ideas – erratic staccato “blips”; high micro-tonal “wails” bending downward; fast, wispy, chromatic runs; and clustered trills. As these ideas are stated, there are sporadic interruptions in rhythmic unison that themselves become unique ideas which control the overall tempo as the work progresses. Each instrument essentially takes ownership of one of the main ideas towards the latter part of the work, and eventually these motives are consolidated into one gesture at the very end before the work finally “runs out of steam.”

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