Blackbird on Edge

blackbird_med

Program Notes

Program Notes
  • I

    First circle. Is that all there is?

  • II

    Homage to Maria Tanase and Leonard Bernstein

  • III

    Third circle. Swing.

  • IV

    ...n-th circle. And further...

Live performance directed by members of eighth blackbird music ensemble.

Blackbird On Edge for mixed chamber ensemble

Selected for concert performance by Tempo music ensemble, California State University, Northridge (Los Angeles)

Selection at 2011 New Music Festival Fresno, CA

The Tenth Annual Belvedere Chamber Music Festival - Memphis, TN, June 2016

Blackbird on Edge is inspired by Wallace Stevens' IX from Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird, published in 1917 in the author's first volume of poetry Harmonium.

Here are a few of the music ideas at the base of Blackbird on Edge:

  • The predictable symmetry of the circle, represented by a symmetric music scale, contrasted with the colorful variety of the worlds bordered by the circles.
  • The blackbird's flight "out of sight," only to be encircled again, and again, reflected in the form of the piece shaped by a limited number of transpositions.
  • The contrast between the perfect simplicity of a circle and its irrational constant PI, contrast symbolized by a poly-meter conflict between the "perfect" ternary meter and the "imperfect" others.

Live performance directed by members of eighth blackbird music ensemble.

"When the blackbird flew out of sight,

It marked the edge

Of one of many circles."

Flute: David Ngo  Clarinet: Brent Buemi

Violin: Bethany Wildes  Violoncello: Belinda Viesca

Percussion: Nathaniel Collins  Piano: Thiago Nascimento

Selected for concert performance by Tempo music ensemble, California State University, Northridge (Los Angeles)

Selection at 2011 New Music Festival Fresno, CA

The Tenth Annual Belvedere Chamber Music Festival - Memphis, TN, June 2016