Quartet for Percussion (2018)
II. Lento e misterioso
Quartet for Percussion was written for Brett Dietz and the LSU percussion ensemble “Hamiruge”. The piece draws inspirations from the mathematical properties of prime numbers. The first movement is constructed from a metrical pattern of expanding and contracting prime number sequences. These symmetrical and palindromic phrases are layered through multiple points of imitation as the movement progresses. A small tribute to French composer Olivier Messiaen, whose work also embodied what he called “nonretrogradable rhythms” patters, appears in the second movement as a fantasy of imaginary bird songs (as interpreted by percussionists). The closing movement continues the exploration of prime number metrical patterns with layered and imitative arpeggios that float on top of a persistent 8th note pulse.
Composed for four performers, each one assembles a collection of three “like” unpitched instruments from found sources (e.g., brake drums, pieces of wood). The abstraction of the “found instrument” sounds is meant to highlight the abstraction of the rhythmic and melodic patterns (and bird songs) inherent in the structures created for this piece.