Parting with Time

PARTING WITH TIME (2002)  Premiered March 5, 2003 at Alfred Newman Hall, Los Angeles, CA
in five movements oboe, pno., 1 perc., vln., vla, vlc.
15 min.
I. Denial
II. Bargaining
III. Depression
IV. Anger
V. Acceptance
Movement II – Bargaining
Movement IV – Anger
Since I was a boy, I have been fascinated by naval warfare and battleships, especially those of the World War II era.  Studying the ships and strategies of battle has inevitably led me to grapple with the tragedies of war.  I think of the men who were trapped in the USS Arizona as it sank in Pearl Harbor.  Once they realized there was no way out, they must have had time to think, perhaps too much time, as their hopes of being rescued dwindled.  I cannot help but wonder what the thoughts of those men were during those moments. What thoughts come to men’s minds when death does not come suddenly, but looms ponderously overhead?  Were they thinking of their wives and children, who didn’t know that they were falling into the sea?  Did they consider their entrance into eternity as they were parting with time?
This ensemble lends itself to an expansive tonal, percussive, and dynamic range with a multitude of tambres.  Instruments include: Oboe (English Horn), Marimba, Vibraphone, Piano, Violin, Viola, and Violoncello.  There are five movements: one is fast, one is moderate, and the remaining three are slow.  Much of the music was inspired by some of my favorite composers: Debussy, Ravel, and Ginestera, but with contemporary harmony, rhythm and orchestration.  The harmonic language consists of extended, impressionistic chords which occasionally melt into polytonality.  Nontraditional octave doublings add fresh color to the overall sound, blurring conventional musical idioms, yet retaining reference to their inspiration.  The use of polyrhythm and mixed meter causes a departure from the steady pulse adding another facet of meaning to the title of the piece.

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