Late Night Stand Up
Premiered by Heidi Sweely and Karli Vina in April of 2008 in College Park, MD
About the Piece
I. The Big Race
II. Thumbs and Little Kicks
III. Serenity Now, Insanity Later
IV. Happy Festivus!
The title of this piece, Late Night Stand Up, and the subsequent movements are all references to the sitcom Seinfeld, although they should not be understood as programmatic. In The Big Race, the initial harmonies unfold slowly before bursting into a series of rapid gestures. Eventually these figures subside and are contrasted by a suddenly regular pulse. The rest of the movement alternates between these ideas both on a larger sectional level and on a local surface level. The music in the pulsed section doesn’t necessarily “race”; the thought instead is to capture the variety of feelings one may feel before a competition (or a race), anxiety, confidence, calm, etc. After a hesitant opening, Thumbs and Little Kicks consists of a variety of syncopated rhythms that lead to a pair of climactic points in the higher registers of both instruments. The first of these points leads into a section that includes a flute melody floating over a vamp in the marimba. This music gains momentum and the second climax (similar but shorter than the first) is reached. After a breath, a closing gesture fades away.
A flute solo introduces a lyrical melody at the beginning of Serenity Now, Insanity Later. A repeat of the opening idea is supported by the marimba’s accompanimental gestures, which evolve into more active figurations and work in opposition to the solo. In turn, the flute line is drawn to the figures in the marimba and a series of rushing scales in both instruments lead to the high point. The movement ends with a reminiscence of the flute solo that moves without break into the final movement. A solo marimba passage begins the finale and acts as a transition between movements 3 and 4. Relentless energy and syncopated rhythms characterize Happy Festivus!, which serves as the culmination of the entire work.