I wrote Obsessive Folksing while I was a composition fellow at Tanglewood as part of their annual three-day “Piece-a-Day” project. Obsessive Folksing is the first piece in the series. It was composed in Pittsfield, Massachusetts on 14 July 2010.
The piece is composed in a free polyphonic manner, and the melodic material is based on a favorite Klezmer tune of mine. Just as the instruments are starting to gather in momentum, they get stuck on one fragment, repeating it until it transforms and gathers inertia and intensity, and then move on to the rest of the song. The Klezmer tune is well hidden in the polyphony, but its spirit is prevalent and haunting.