THE TWITTERING MACHINE
for wind ensemble
Adapted for wind ensemble with a commission from the College Band Directors National Association (Western and Northwestern Divisions). Premièred by Tim Salzman conducting the University of Washington Wind Ensemble in Reno, Nevada, March 19, 1994, at the Regional Conference of the CBDNA's Western and Northwestern Divisions.
Clarinet in Eb
Clarinet in Bb
Bb Bass Clarinet
2 Trumpets in Bb
--- (with F attachment)
Bass Drum (pedal-operated)
5 Temple Blocks
Large Suspended Cymbal
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California Counterpoint: The Twittering Machine (1993) was adapted for wind ensemble with a commission from the College Band Directors National Association (Western and Northwestern Divisions), and premièred by Tim Salzman conducting the University of Washington Wind Ensemble in Reno, Nevada, March 19, 1994, at the Regional Conference of the CBDNA's Western and Northwestern Divisions.
California Counterpoint: The Twittering Machine was originally written for orchestra (entitled The Twittering Machine) and later adapted for wind ensemble. The title is intended to recognize California conductor, Mitch Fennell, for having organized the commission to adapt the piece for winds, and is also meant to express my life-long fascination with the work of painter, Paul Klee.Klee's Twittering Machine is both a drawing and a painting of four birds perched on a crank shaft. The drawn images are whimsical, puppet-like, mechanistic, ironic, and playful, reflected by the faster sections of my composition. These are set against a lyrical field of transparent color, represented by the slower sections of my piece.
I was especially drawn to the painting's biting humor; imagine what would happen to the birds if the crank shaft were turned! In my piece, I make attempts at humor through the use of repeated structures and denied expectation -- rhythms are displaced, passages are suddenly transposed or textures juxtaposed.
There are elements of danger in Klee's painting: arrows piercing some of the birds, a gaping hole or ditch the birds might fall into, and the presence of an exclamation mark which is a recurring symbol in Klee's work meant to suggest impending doom. The danger elements in my piece consist of many large silences, or musical holes, which the players risk falling into if they're not attentive.
Most important is my intention that the work, like Klee's Twittering Machine, convey movement -- that it engage the body as well as the mind -- that it "dance"!