Collideoscope

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Composed 2014

Duration: 19:00

Instrumentation: piano, violin, viola, and cello

I. Bold, intense

II. Both tranquil and frenetic

III. Steady, unrelenting

 

I wrote the first movement of Collideoscope at the request of my friend and frequent collaborator Nicholas Leh Baker. Nicholas had the idea to commission a suite of six paintings from artist Gregory Gummersall, and then to ask six composers to each respond to one of the paintings musically. The commission fee for the composers: we kept the painting. When Nicholas approached me with the idea, I immediately agreed and waited anxiously for the artwork to arrive.

 

When I first saw the painting, I was struck by its three large blotches of primary color. Then my eye was drawn towards the looping, calligraphic lines that occupy the middle ground of the painting. After further examination, I noticed that underlying the entire work was a collage of musical scores. Finally, my eye began to travel between these layers freely, with each visual idea influencing the perception of its adjacent features. I took my cues for the musical form from this process of visual exploration, creating a work with three distinctive ideas that form a tenuous coexistence, with each idea refracting and distorting the music around it.

As happened with my Third String Quartet, after completing the piece, I decided I wanted to explore this musical material further. The second movement begins right where the first ends—with a high E major chord, suspended above increasingly intense piano interjections. I view this fleet-footed scherzo as a sort of slow movement, vacillating between sustained string sonorities and fast, intricate rhythmic interplay. The finale brings back many of the harmonic and motivic ideas from the first movement, now with greater rhythmic verve and articulation. In particular, the piano part offers many opportunities to showcase great virtuosity and reckless abandon.

Collideoscope was awarded the Glovie and Dick Lynn Prize as winner of the 2020 Garth Newel International Composition Competition, and as such, was given its professional premiere by the Garth Newel Piano Quartet on August 16th, 2020, in a video performance on YouTube.

 

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First Performance: November 17th, 2016

Morse Recital Hall, Yale University, New Haven, CT

Nicholas Leh Baker, violin

Chiu-Chen Liu, viola

Andrew Janss, cello

Jessica Xylina Osborne, piano

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Virtual Premiere Performance: August 16th, 2020

Garth Newel Music Center, Hot Springs, VA

Garth Newel Piano Quartet

Teresa Ling, violin

Evelyn Grau, viola

Isaac Melamed, cello

Jeannette Fang, piano

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Related Works:

Hat Trick

Nitwit, Oddment, Blubber, Tweak

Piano Trio

String Quartet No. 3

Copyright © 2017-2020 by Jordan Kuspa