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REEL (2018)

for Alto Saxophone and Piano

REEL is a work dedicated to saxophonist and good friend Ellie Parker. Her incredibly powerful and lyrical playing drove the exploration of saxophone sounds in this piece. I thank her for fantastic collaboration and commitment to my ideas.

Program Notes:

REEL is structurally based upon the process of film editing and time as a linear phenomenon. In film editing, raw footage and scenes are selected, combined, and arranged into a particular coherent sequence. Editing establishes a sense of action, story progression, and continuity that are not necessarily chronological. However, a movie is always consumed and perceived in linear real time. This concept is woven into the five scenes of REEL. There is no predetermined order for the scenes. Instead, they are presented in an order that is determined by the final editor - the performer. By removing a definitive order between scenes, the flow of time between scenes is also removed. As a result, time transforms from a series of sequential events into an experience of a simultaneous one.


Furthermore, REEL explores the parallel to human persona and identity. Similar to the film editing process, individuals reveal elements of their lives and personalities to others in a sequence that is determined by the nature of the particular relationship. As a result, everyone consciously and subconsciously sustains multiple slightly different personas in varying circumstances. Each persona is equally valid and real. The music of REEL uses a fixed set of motivic ideas and pitch classes. In each scene, the musical elements take on a new persona and identity. These identities unfold and progress in a manner uniquely determined by the setting of each scene. In doing so, they create multiple unique personas that are in essence different sides of one individual character. Although each persona is presented individually, they all exist simultaneously within a single person reflecting the experience of simultaneous time.