for large concert band
performed by: The St. Olaf Band
directed by: Timothy Mahr
premiere: Apr. 9, 2017, St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN
cataract for large concert band is an exploration of the formal devices utilized in the visual art of Bridget Riley, specifically in reference to her work Cataract 3. Her art often employs the serial repetition of monochromatic lines to create optical illusions and sensations of movement for the viewer. My piece uses subtle internal variations through extended repetitions to create an environment conducive to temporal confusion and sonic immersion.
I have always been interested in how music has this capacity to bring listeners and musicians to a state of timelessness, while simultaneously relying entirely on the passage of time to give it identity and expression. I use unusual orchestration and sounds atypical to the concert band to heighten the necessity for active listening and to encourage a type of "sonic acuity" only encountered when listening to sounds unfamiliar. Just as Bridget Riley uses her art to explore the ways in which the eye works to create compositional sense of a work of art, I use this music to explore the ways in which we encounter the intersection of sound articulated intentionally in time, and the ways we attempt to engage with the nature of time itself in the act of listening.
This piece is dedicated to The St. Olaf Band and Dr. Mahr, in gratitude for their constant support and grounding during my four years on the hill.