Carbide & Carbon
Approximate Duration: 14'
No musical body possesses the power, warmth, and range of the cello ensemble. But every time I’ve encountered a new work for octet, I find myself wishing the ensemble’s rhythmic possibilities received deeper exploration. Eight carbon-copy instruments, after all, present many intriguing possibilities for shattered, morphing figuration to whip around the ensemble. Indeed, the ‘carbon’ of the title refers as much to the duplicating material that jumps from player to player, and the ‘carbide’ conjures the work’s industrial-age energy. (The title was certainly suggested by my favorite Chicago building, the green and gold one of the same name, but the homage ends there.)
An embryonic version first appeared as a fiendishly difficult solo cello work for the incredible Joshua Roman, who is perhaps the only person who can play it (and stunningly at that). But it was particularly inspiring to create this new octet for some of my closest friends in the Chicago Symphony, for whom I've create a kind of ‘super cello' that is hopefully worthy of their outstanding skills.