for Orchestra & Fixed Media
(Mvt. II, Flat) March 2019—Winspear Hall; Denton, TX
Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra
Novemeber 2019—Winspear Hall; Denton, TX
Read by the UNT Symphony Orchestra
EverWind was written as my Master’s Thesis during my studies at the University of North Texas. It was written following a visit to the Chihuahuan Desert & Colorado plateau. Many of the ideas in the piece are drawn from real locations in the Midwest: Widforss, for example, is the name of a trail at the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, where I came across multiple amiable hikers, some raucous bugs, and one very cooperative tree. The influence of the locations is most clearly felt in the fourth movement, which uses actual sounds recorded on the trip. The piece also seeks to explore larger environmental issues, using these real places as jumping-off points.
The first movement, “PERMIA," opens with a concert B—the note that is most common in American cities and homes, owing to the 60Hz hum that is created by our electrical system—that is meant to mark a starting point, from which other material will take over in the journey to the wilderness.
“Flat” represents those places of repose where objects come to and stay at rest. It is particularly inspired by the salt flats of West Texas. There—less than two miles from the highest elevation in the state—is the lowest point for miles in any direction. Salt has collected from years of runoff and erosion. The white fields almost touched by the shadow of Guadalupe peak stand barren and largely ignored. This movement explores these elements of silence and rest by combining very quiet sounds with hints of pitch derived from the natural overtone series.
Written for string instruments only, “Widforss” uses rhythms recorded at the north rim of Grand Canyon National Park as its foundational material. String noise elements are combined with strongly pitched material derived from the higher partials of the overtone series.
The final movement, “Switchback,” is a recapitulation of the narrative strands of the piece. The brass and woodwind players are spread around the audience—in much the same way that the fixed media element is spatialized around the hall. Sounds of the Virgin River in Zion National Park and Cave Swallows from Carlsbad Caverns are electronically manipulated to varying degrees while the orchestra provides commentary on the myriad of noises.