Drift and Providence
co-commissioned by The San Francisco Symphony and The New World Symphony
scored for orchestra with live electronics
first performance Friday, April 20, 2012 | The New World Center - Miami, FL
note Writing Drift and Providence was my main project between the spring and winter of 2012. I carried it everywhere, and it experienced its creation in a collection of inconvenient locations--in Brooklyn coffee shops and in Taiwanese hotels; in quasi-legally acquired conservatory practice rooms, and even behind a friend's Clavinova in a desolate part of the early winter Sierra Nevada. This lack of anchorage made the process exciting and satisfying and influenced me to think of the work as a narrative on 'stability of place.'
The form of the work is structured around three imagined places (movements 1, 3, and 5) and what one may experience drifting between them (movements 2, 4). The movement titles suggest distinct locations--particularly to those from my birth place of San Francisco--but they aim to indicate things much more archetypal. The first movement, Embarcadero (Spanish for 'wharf'), indicates a point of departure characterized by the unpredictability and immensity of the sea. The third movement, Divisadero (Spanish for 'a high place from which one can observe an extensive area') serves as the midpoint of psychological and musical distance. The final movement, Providence, is the most abstract of these places, suggesting guidance and protection--either human or divine. The final movement is shaped around a restatement of the opening, but its appearance and behavior are completely re-imagined so as to suggest a place that is at once unmistakably familiar and disconcertedly unknown.
The music is in five movements played without pause. The duration is about eighteen minutes.
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