Tear of Ambiguity - Piano (2006-2007) - 6:34
Piano has an infinite amount of possibilities and potential, including its ability to contain the majority of the audible sound spectrum in its strings whether they are actually being struck or not. I have based the characteristic sound of this work on this idea by instructing the performer to simply hold down the sustain pedal for lengthy amounts of time while playing fast and freely. Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to reproduce this sound with a synthesizer as the sound that I was looking for is produced by sympathetic vibrations throughout the piano, including strings that are never used. This sound would be most apparent at the end where the performer is instructed to leave the sustain pedal engaged until most of the sound in the piano has become inaudible. This simulation does a fine job reproducing the general sound of the piano, but it does not quite capture the sounds I have in my head.
As I was writing this work I could never quite decide what emotion I was attempting to capture. Whatever my subconsciousness had in mind, it was an emotion that would bring the subject to tears. My goal has ended up being for me to convince the listener to identify with another person's suffering and unspeakable joy simultaneously. Some may view this concept as silly and far from practical, but this is the concept I think of when I see something incredible to come in the midst of a difficult situation. The situation must take place in order for the joy to result, but terrific end or not it still hurts in the meantime. The journey is beautiful because of its result.
The Dark Process - Full Orchestra (2007) - 17:49
This work is a theme and variations form, meaning the same material is presented several times in different ways; in this case four. I normally do not stick strictly to a form that I choose, however in this case the theme and it's three variations are actually very similar. Although the tonality, tempo, groove, and mood are completely different in each variation, the same structure and thematic material are preserved most of the time.
I wrote this to reflect part of my opinion of atheism and essentially to depict the book of Ecclesiastes (save the ending). The theme depicts a pointless beginning of a life or a community attempting to find a purpose in the suffering they have to endure in life. Variation I depicts struggle and slaughter at the hands of the injustice due to there being no control outside of the physical realm. Some may say that this happens in the world God or no God, and they are correct. But then variation II represents restless and bodiless souls (Or the memory of them if you prefer) that are weeping at their pointless and recently terminated physical existence and are deprived of justice beyond the grave. Since there was no purpose to their life, there was no purpose to their end and therefore no reason or means for justice. They are quickly forgotten about as a new generation takes their place full of hope and optimism. But Variation III depicts the quick and pointless decay of time which decimates the bodies of the new generation, ending in a final slaughter of any hope for anyone's survival. The Dark Process refers to this never ending cycle of death. "For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even he memory of them is forgotten...never again will they have a part in anything that happens under he sun." My intention for this work is to be intuitively philosophical and it is not to be overanalyzed in any way. Don't be tempted to assign meaning to every note, but rather enjoy it as music and allow your mind to wonder into the philosophy naturally.
Vagrant Contemplation - Alto Saxophone (2006) - 4:40
This is my first work that was ever worth mentioning outside of my immediate social context. Having premiered it at my recital, producing a live recording of this work proved to be rather effortless and was an obvious work to include in this project. This piece still has its challenges however; outside of the obvious challenges of the fast passages lies the incredible difficulty of controlling the sound while playing at almost sub-audible levels. The lower on the saxophone one goes, the harder it is to maintain the sound at low decibel levels. Even on a good note it can be difficult to sneak sound into silence.
The mind itself is one of my favorite topics of discussion in philosophy, theology, and science. Here I have attempted to capture the occurrence of a mind having a dark thought that is never resolved, but keeps feeding off of itself until the mind simply accepts its depressed state. In my thinking, this occurs when a person is distressed but refuses to let the source go. This work is what results when a person refuses to let God handle problems that are out of their control. Philippians 4:6, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."
Transition - Alto Saxophone & Wind Band (2008) - 20:20
I wrote this concerto specifically for the ensemble that I played with at Cornerstone University so that it could be performed as my senior project. It features an extremely difficult saxophone part utilizing the saxophone's countless timbres, agility, and altissimo register (A technique where a player must play above the normal range of the instrument by speeding up the airstream). There are also special effects including multi-phonics (multiple tones at the same time) and quarter tone trills (rapidly changing a note's tuning back and fourth by 50 cents).
The title of this work has two meanings. In one sense it is the representation of life in general going through change. In order to settle upon a contented state, one must not fight the changes they go through in life but rather change their attitude towards their new surroundings. It's not our circumstances that make us happy, but our attitude towards our surroundings that governs how we feel. After all, a person can have everything in the world going their way and still be unhappy. I have attempted to capture this concept with this work. My suggestion to see this in the music is to think of the saxophone as the subject and the band as his environment.
On the other hand, this work is a perfect representation of how I viewed life throughout the year of June 2007 through June 2008. I listen to this work and remember days and times that I assign to certain sections of the piece. I will obviously not go into depth about this, but I will leave this by saying that I learned a lot that year.
Prelude refers to the role that all of these pieces play in my future career as a composer. This is the project that I feel represents the preparations I've made to go on a very long and possibly very difficult journey. This is also the project that I would like to dedicate to the countless friends and family that have made it possible for me to even get into music in the first place and to thrive in general. Thanks to you all very much for playing a part in shaping me into who I've become so far.