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Approximate Duration: 14'
Breathy flute interjections, chirping trumpets, and even an old typewriter bring to life the quicksilver music of the opening “Silicon Blues.” The morphing beat, at the movement’s climax, begins to lengthen persistently, and by the time we enter “Marine Snow,” a pulsing prepared-piano figure becomes a distant, out-of-tune gong. In the deep ocean, marine snow is a continuous shower of organic detritus — primarily made up of dead and dying animals — that falls for weeks before reaching the ocean floor. Conjured by shimmering textures in the upper winds, this suspended animation (a nod to the Floridian element of the premiere) serves as the quiet backdrop for the melody that unfolds in the brass. Changing color at almost every cadence, it floats over the haze, eventually being taken up by the rest of the ensemble.
As the marine snow drifts lower, the gentle pulse returns with growing insistence. The prepared low-end of the piano finally presents itself in “Greyhound,” a mad dash across bumpy terrain. The piano’s muffled thuds are a subsonic reincarnation of the work’s opening mechanistic element. By the work’s end, we return to a clunkier version of the silicon-based world that began the piece — like an old-fashioned mainframe computer doing a lopsided dance.
2 flutes (1st doubling Piccolo)
2 oboes (2nd doubling English Horn)
2 Bb clarinets
2 bassoons (2nd doubling Contrabassoon)
4 horns in F
3 C Trumpets
percussion (3 or 4 players)