Music for NME (Chromatic Study 3)

(2015) for mixed chamber ensemble (fl, Bb cl, ob, soprano voice, pipa, guitar, vibraphone, perc, pf, vln, vc, cb)

This music is third in a series of pieces for the University of Virginia New Music Ensemble. The musical material comes from a wedge-shaped, outwardly expanding pitch series, which appears prominently in Alban Berg’s Lulu, among other places. The piano begins with a chromatic cluster that spans a major tenth. Notes are slowly subtracted from the center of the cluster and distributed to the ensemble, essentially filling in the gaps and forming a negative image of the piano chords. As the ensemble expands outwards, the piano slowly replaces the missing pitches in the center once again. In this way the entire chromatic gamut is constantly reiterated throughout the piece, but with continual shifts in texture and tone color.