Artwork by James St. John provided under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.


Chamber 6:30

asx, pf

Pillars was commissioned by Geoffrey Landman for the 2014 North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial National Conference. It was composed in Cambridge, Massachusetts and completed in January of 2014.

I wrote Pillars after a year-long hiatus from composing. This hiatus, and my transition into becoming a faculty member at Harvard the previous September led me to reassess my own compositional pillars. I realized that those pillars can be diluted to four features:

a) Idiomatic use of instruments and tailoring the piece to the performer’s abilities, tastes and personality.

b) Abstract and concrete Voice-Leading: smoothly maintaining line of musical thought, and concretely maintaining a linear continuity of pitches.

c) Abstract and concrete Counterpoint: the layering of many meanings on one another, and the layering of musical ideas, each maintaining independence, but also communicating with one another.

d) Play with groove: one of the features that is most appealing to me when I listen to music is a play of rhythms against a steady beat. For me, the steady beat can be almost hidden from plain hearing, as long as the music corresponds with that beat, conspiring against it while complying to it.

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