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Concerted Effort


Composed in 2005

Duration: 8:30

Instrumentation: piano, flute, clarinet, percussion, violin, viola, cello


In the fall of 2005, Hurricane Rita approached Houston. Coming on the heels of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, Rita caused widespread panic and a mass exodus from Houston. School was canceled, and I escaped for the week to my home in Sugar Land.  There, with the dual threat of Rita and the deadline for a reading with Speculum Musicae looming, I composed Concerted Effort. Conceived as a micro-concerto for piano and ensemble, the piece unfolds as a three-part form (fast-slow-fast). The first section has a jazzy, rhythmic groove that is enhanced by coloristic effects throughout the ensemble, notably snap pizzicati, very short wind articulations, and a large variety of percussion. The slow section begins with a clarinet cadenza, leading to the main motive in the piano (derived from the contour of the opening theme). In this section there is a particular emphasis on percussion effects such as bowed gong and vibraphone, and particularly, a moment towards the end of the section where the percussionist sings into the snare drum to create sympathetic vibrations. The final section begins with steady sixteenth notes interrupted by the piano, before going into a humorous march-like tutti. After a reminiscence of the slow section, the piece builds into a powerful piano cadenza that also revisits earlier material. From there, the work gathers steam for a final rush to the finish.



First Performance: November 3rd, 2007

Duncan Recital Hall, Rice University, Houston, TX

Ekaterina Ryndina, piano; Students of the Shepherd School of Music; 

Nicholas Leh Baker, conductor



Recording: Aleck Karis, piano; Speculum Musicae; James Baker, conductor


Related Works:

Nitwit, Oddment, Blubber, Tweak

Time Crunch


Violin Sonata

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