One of the greatest pleasures I find in writing multi-movement works is the opportunity to create formal parallelisms – corresponding passages that converse with one another across broad stretches of music. A nice recent example of this potential is Kyle Gann’s Sunken City, which contrasts two dramatically and subtly differentiated musics in its two movements. Compare the endings of the two movements: the first one ends with a knowing quip, the second with quiet gasp. What do these endings say to one another? What is the connection between them? What separates the wink from the sigh? These questions, and their answers, give me endless satisfaction.

In all of my multi-movement works, I carefully consider how formal parallels interact. Should all the endings be similar? Should I go for maximum contrast in my beginnings? Should there be a gradual development from first movement to last? These questions cannot be answered generically – like many life-choices, the answer is different in each instance.

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