Triptiek

2009

for tenor sax, bassoon, and electronics (fixed)

Commissioned by EAR Duo (Mike Straus and Dana Jessen).
Studio recording by Philip Staeudlin and Peter VZ Lane.

program note:

Triptiek, for tenor sax, bassoon, and electronics was commissioned by Amsterdam-based EAR Duo, and premiered in January of 2010. The piece is divided into three movements, played without pause. The outer movements are characterized by highly rhythmic, virtuosic instrumental writing, and are accompanied by a driving electronic part at times evocative of popular electronic music styles. The inner movement is static and reflective, interspersed with melodic fragments. There is a good deal of imitative writing throughout the piece. In each of the movements, one of the three instruments (electronics included) takes the lead, i.e., the saxophone leads canonic figuration in the first movement, the winds imitate the electronics in the second movement, and the bassoon leads the third. The piece is also rigidly (and archaically) composed around a reductive system based on a rising major second, which is present through the foreground, mid-ground, and background. This simple scheme, along with other elements, gives the piece a more or less ambiguous formal structure of both a three-movement developing narrative alongside an ABA large-scale form, reminiscent of traditional approaches to triptychs in the visual arts.

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