Program Notes


TINY LITTLE BOXES (World Premiere)
I. Where We Are Now
II. Crackpot Hymnal
III. Cyborg Music

Composer Dmitri Tymoczko is also a dear friend and lives about two blocks from me in Philadelphia making him not only the Composer-in-Residence of the festival this summer but of my neighborhood as well. I asked him to write a few words about his piece:

David asked me to write something that was both enjoyable and capable of being performed on minimal rehearsal—a challenging assignment, since I typically like music that is fast-paced, surprising, and rhythmically tricky … or in other words difficult to play. How could I write something that was intense, modern, potentially worthy of sharing the stage with great classics, and yet also “virtually sight-readable”?  My solution was to offer David a choice from among seven short movements. That way, I reasoned, he could take on as much music as he wanted, thus letting me off the hook and making him responsible for any problems that might arise!

Where We Are Now is influenced by the pulsing rhythms of minimalism, as filtered through early Stravinsky.  The group plays together in an almost-constant rhythm, moving through harmonies that variously echo jazz, blues, and twentieth-century modernism. 

Crackpot Hymnal is lurching, loosely synchronized, and improvisatory, combining avant-garde rhythms with gushing Romantic harmonies. It is as if the players were all improvising, yet somehow managing to stay together harmonically. As the title suggests, the music is supposed to be elegaic and slightly demented, sincere and yet disturbing.

Cyborg Music is a duet with a long-dead composer, its harmonies partially generated by a mathematical model of Mozart's style.  I then took these harmonies and wove them into a piece of my own.  Again, the music traverses the full range of Western music history, sliding between overt classicism, late Romanticism, and contemporary guitar rock.

Notes by the composer