Bits and Pieces

ensemble flute, clarinet, alto saxophone, bassoon, marimba, two vibraphones, and timpani
duration ~4:44
score PDF, 295KB
performance history 05/02/1994 (undergraduate senior recital) by Anna C. Montejo, Barabara Benedett, Matthew R. Hetzler, Jennifer Hugh, Wesley Morton, and Jason Gianni
date completed 1993
era undergraduate

background

I think the first program notes (well, the only program notes, as this has only been performed once) describe this piece best. It’s a microcosmic view of my approach to writer’s block: start jamming things together and see what order can be made of it. The result is a piece whose seams always show, and most of the art is in integrating them to make them feel as organic as possible. Whether or not that serves or undermines the art is up to the listener.

Bits and Pieces began as a collection of several six-measure dance motives that were thrown together on the same draft page as an attempt to combat what was, by that time, a thriving case of writer's block. Soon the bits and pieces of themes began to intertwine. The piece opens with a chromatic waltz that runs awry during its repetition. This is essentially the way the entire piece progresses -- a musical idea will begin normally and end up rattling through several different keys, meters, phrase lengths, as well as parts of previous themes. Counterpoint also appears (initially by the book) and within measures it dances into dissonance, repose, or homophony. Every theme is tied into the rest of the themes, and all sense of separatism is abandoned at the last minute for a thunderous closing statement.

- program notes, 05/02/1994