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Dense, Angular, Nuanced, Cosmic Energy

flute/piccolo, clarinet in B-flat/bass clarinet, piano


Premiered by Alicia Kosack, Laura Armstrong, and Matthew Jaskot on October 22, 2017 in Bel Air, MD

About the Piece


I.  Fist Pumps and Giant Stomps

II.  Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee

III.  Balloons of Remembrance Glide to Infinity

IV.  Bebop Tango FZGB

This is my take on a “dance suite” – with the words in the acronym providing an apt description for the character of the music throughout the piece.  The first movement features repetitive melodic figures, heavy articulation of the beat, and some references to John Coltrane’s Giant Steps.  The second movement uses Muhammad Ali’s famous quotation as a jumping off point.  Great athletes are often described in similar terms as dancers (graceful, agile, light on their feet, etc.), and they also demonstrate excellent strength and power.  This short movement represents these qualities.  The third movement represents one of my own personal experiences, in which a group of balloons were released in remembrance of lost loved ones.  I remember focusing on the balloon that I released, as it broke away from the group, darting in different directions, but continually maintaining its distance from the pack, before fading out of sight.  The final movement is the only one that references a traditional dance – the tango – although it is fused with energy from angular bebop improvisations.  This movement is a tertiary reading – an arrangement of pianist Geoffrey Burleson’s (GB) solo piano improvisation on Frank Zappa’s (FZ) Bebop Tango.  Burleson’s interpretation is heard in full, with the material complemented by, and sometimes taken over by the winds.  

Movement 2:  Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee

February 21, 2019 - College of the Holy Cross 

Alice Jones, piccolo; Laura Armstrong, bass clarinet, Matthew Jaskot, piano

Movement 3:  Balloons of Remembrance Glide to Infinity

February 21, 2019 - College of the Holy Cross 

Alice Jones, flute; Laura Armstrong, clarinet; Matthew Jaskot, piano

Post premiere with Alicia and Laura

After a February 22, 2019 performance at Clark University

with Alice and Laura

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