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My piece objects for marimba, piano and electronic organ is going to be premiered at the Sequenza 21 concert on November 20th. The performers will be Hugh Sung (electronic organ), Daniel Beliavsky (piano) and Bill Solomon (marimba). I encountered Hugh through MySpace, and it turns out we both live and work in the Philadelphia area, Hugh being a fantastic pianist at the Curtis Institute of Music and a fellow technologist. We’ve done a podcast together at his studio at Curtis, and I’m delighted he’s participating in this event. Daniel teaches at NYU and is also a composer, while Bill is an expert marimbist in the Hartford, CT area.
At the time that I was writing objects, I was teaching a college course in computer science; the work’s title comes from a programming construct in which blocks of computer code are organized into reusable units called objects. This is similar to how most of the piece is made up of repetitive, reusable groups of notes and rhythms, and is a feature of most of my music since the early 80’s.
I wrote objects pretty much over a weekend in 1999, although it took me two months to finalize everything. I was playing with three rhythmic fragments on my synthesizer, all in 7/16 time but with the three possible beat structures (3+2+2 vs 2+3+2 vs 2+2+3). Initially I had the keyboard play the patterns back at superhuman speeds, which was pretty interesting, but it was even more interesting when the tempo was slowed down. The entire work resulted largely from these three fragments, and only in two measures does the meter change from 7/16, namely 11/16. I wrote objects for my daughter, Arielle, who was almost four at the time.
objects is a piece that I have always thought of as my most “fun” piece. It’s very accessible, and unlike some of my other music that tends to run an hour or even more than two hours in duration (cantorials, textbook, for philip glass), objects lasts only around 11 minutes.
objects will be the finale of the concert in November, so please don’t leave early (if for no other reason than there will be a really nice party after the concert!). If you need some further convincing about sitting through until the end of the concert, click here…