MACHINATIONS for wind symphony

(2012) (5')
< 3+pic+afl.1.3+Eb+bscl+cbscl.1+cbsn / ssx.asx.tsx.bsx / 4.5.3+bstbn.1+euph / timp+5perc / pno / db >

Instrumentation

1 Piccolo
1 C flute
1 Alto flute

1 Oboe
1 Bassoon
1 Contrabassoon

1 Clarinet in E♭
3 Clarinets in B♭
1 Bass clarinet in B♭
1 Contrabass clarinet in B♭

1 Soprano saxophone in B♭
1 Alto saxophone in E♭
1 Tenor saxophone in B♭
1 Baritone saxophone in E♭

5 Trumpets in B♭
4 Horns in F
3 Tenor trombones
1 Bass trombone
1 Euphonium
1 Tuba

1 String bass
1 Piano

6 Percussion:
Timpani, Triangle
Vibraphone, Tambourine
Chimes, Snare Drum
Marimba, Tom-toms
Crotales, Glockenspiel, Tam-tam
Bass Drum

Program Notes:

Today technology aims to improve and extend our lives, but nothing so far has been able to suspend our inevitable deaths. We all try to leave our marks, but it seems that few of us succeed. Out of the billions of humans that have ever lived on this earth, perhaps a handful are remembered at all. The network of computer servers that make up the Internet have made sharing our stories easier, but we’ve become overwhelmed by the sheer number of stories out there. Furthermore, these servers won’t last forever. Someday all of our stories will disappear. Humans have invented this miraculous technology that can hold astronomically large amounts of data, but it still is finite; it still will someday die. If you look hard enough, though, there is beauty to be found in the dissonance of our short existence in this vast universe.

Machinations is an indirect musical reflection on these thoughts. Our stories build up more and more, fragmenting throughout the web of information and machines until finally, it comes to a breaking point, and all we have are the stories of old, themselves fragmented, pleading to be heard, to have some place in the short history of the human race, and ultimately quietly themselves to their sad, beautiful fates.

The finale of this piece contains a musical quote from the closing of “Occhi del mio cor vita” from Carlo Gesualdo’s fifth book of madrigals (1566). The text pleads, “mirate almen ch’io moro” (“at least see me dying”). Although the madrigal is more about unrequited love, the line’s sentiments mirror those of this piece.