Intrascalings (2013/14)

Commissioned by the Ensemble et cetera. Commission given as one of the five winners of the ensemble et cetera’s composition competition 

Instrumentation: cl, mar, db

duration: 10:30

World Premiere: 10 October 2014 | Conrad Prebys Recital Hall, San Diego, U.S.A. | Curt Miller – clarinet, Dustin Donahue – marimba, Scott Worthington – double bass

Program Notes: 

The prefix intra- signifies ‘within’ or ‘between layers of ’, hence the title intrascaling means between layers of scaling and is a reference to the use of durational ratios of attacks, that control the rhythmicity and permeate various compositional aspects of the work, at various temporal levels by means of scale invariance. I am very interested in the conflict between variance and invariance among different—two, three, or even more—superposed rhythmic structures. I find very appealing the fact that, the antagonistic relationship of such perpetually interwoven rhythmic structures and their metric ambiguity results from a limited number of sets of invariant data, each one set independently in motion from the others, at different scales.

The texture of Intrascalings is based on a constant flow of rapid pulses that is confronted by multiple, polyrhythmic temporal streams of different and varying densities. The contrasting timbres that have been assigned to the layers of the design, as well as their different registral positioning create an effect of independent intrwoven lines, which are in constant conflict with one another, thus maintaing an intense and, at times, escalating energy plaing until the end of the work. Ultimately, the whole structure is made up of discreet strips of ‘polyrhytmia,’ ‘eurhythmia,’ and ‘arrhythmia’ woven individually and then assembled side by side.

The pitch domain, on the other side, is governed by an additive and combinatorial generative process, which takes a few germinal cells as input and engenders inexaustible variants at the output. Cyclic patterned recurrences of patterns, that share the same underlying structure, unfold in time, elaborating centripetally on the the same structural complex again and again, creating, maintaing and exalting one or various states from a single or from a variety of perspectives.

Performance History:

  • Oct 10, 2014, Ensemble Et cetera (Curt Miller – clarinet, Dustin Donahue – marimba, Scott Worthington – double bass) | Conrad Prebys Recital Hall, San Diego, U.S.A. |
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