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.