The common ground in “Common Ground” is not political, nor is it a bass ground, as in Baroque music. It simply refers to the rhythmic feel of the piece. The entire piece relies on a steady pulse of fast sixteenth notes. This perpetual motion renders the piece a somewhat impatient, very energetic quality.
The common ground appears on another layer. The first section of the piece explores the idea of pure melody, a single melodic line, in a colored unison, while the second section deals with verticality of music, relying on chords. Generally speaking, the two extremes do meet later in the piece and make amends, but a close listening will reveal that even the melodic section creates harmony, and that the harmonic section creates melody. The common ground between the two has been there all along.
The piece is rather challenging for the orchestra. Each instrument is treated as an equal (another layer of “common ground?”) and every player has a virtuosic part to play. It is truly a chamber piece, for chamber orchestra. Reminiscent perhaps of concertos for orchestra, where every player is a soloist.
I wrote Common Ground while I was a student of Lee Hyla at New England Conservatory. It was composed in Cambridge, Massachusetts and completed in March of 2007. Common Ground won the 10th annual BMOP/NEC Composition Contest, which resulted in its world premiere performance. It also won honorable mention in the 2009 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Awards and First Place in the 2011 Colors Chamber Orchestra of Honolulu Composition Competition.
Netzer admirably kept her Mozart-sized ensemble in fluid, kaleidoscopic motion with adroit orchestration.
Matthew Guerrieri The Boston Globe (2008)
The winner of the BMOP/NEC composition contest was 28-year-old Israeli composer Osnat Netzer’s brief and ebullient Common Ground, which excels in what Elliott Carter often marks in his own music as ‘scorrevole’ (scurrying).
Lloyd Schwartz The Boston Phoenix (2008)