Jessica Osborne, one of my favorite collaborators will perform Just Stripes, a piano piece I composed for her in 2009, at Third Street Music School Settlement. The concert begins at 7 PM. Admission is free. (More info here.)
“In music, we never say the same thing twice, because the saying is also the thing”
- Igor Stravinsky
Just Stripes is part of a larger cycle of works inspired by Borge’s famous poem, The Other Tiger, that include my original clarinet trio, Another Tiger and several projected chamber, choral, solo and large ensemble works. Borge’s poem, which ruminates on writing and influence, has been, along with Wolfgang Rihm and Harold Bloom, an enduring philosophical impetus for me, a composer obsessed with history, genealogy, succession, influence and intertextuality. Like Borge’s “third tiger,” mine “Exalts the vast and dusty library” of not only recent and older musical history, but my own recent work.
But Borge’s work is only an oblique reference; Rihm’s concept of musical cycles, if not the individual works, serves as an important precursor for my own “Other Tiger” Cycle. Like Rihm, I employ compositional techniques like “overpainting,” contrafacture, inscription and palimpsest. In Just Stripes I have stripped my clarinet trio, Another Tiger of its clarinet and cello parts leaving naked silences punctuated by surviving, virtuosic piano licks. Such silences are rare in my music and for the sake of novelty I have let them stand. Other silences are filled in with elaborations of the original piano parts, while still other silences are themselves “elaborated” with harmonics- the pianist silently depresses keys and strikes a chord, releasing the upper partials of the strings. This striking becomes the principle motive of Just Stripes.
Just Stripes was written for Jessica Osborne, my friend who has performed most of the piano parts of my recent music, including Another Tiger. It was made possible, in part, by a fellowship from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.