Duration: 19 min.
First Performance: April 26, 2008
Written for the project COM.POST organized by DSPS/De Player Rotterdam

Suite in Five Movements, to be performed with (optional) image work by visual artist Matthijs van Zessen.

I. Interrupted Swell (In memoriam JT)
II. Stuttering Machine
III. Pensive Song
IV. Unisono Toccata
V. White Material


Program Note

In recent years my music has more and more moved away from 20th century modernism; it has become more direct, more tonal (more diatonic), less complex and more eclectic, as can be heard in this recent trio of mine. Forms in dark and white, moving was written for a collaboration with young visual artist Matthijs van Zessen, who created video images to support my music and who has been a friend of mine since elementary school. It is a cycle of five shorter pieces or five ‘forms’, each having a different mood and starting point. Throughout the cycle, the music seems to swing between darker moods (most notably in movements II and III) and brighter moods (most notably in the last piece with its white-note harmonies).

The first piece, Interrupted Swell (To the memory of JT), is a perfectly symmetrical swell: a harmonically static texture increases in loudness and activity, reaches a highpoint and then decreases in loudness and activity again. At its highpoint, however, the swell is interrupted by a ritualistic sounding interlude, whose rhythms and proportions are derived from the Fibonacci series.
The image of a fast but stuttering machine that’s not working properly was the starting point for the second piece, Stuttering Machine, an energetic piece with spiky, robotic rhythms and minimalist tendencies. The central third piece, Pensive Song, is the most lyrical and also longest of the five pieces. It’s a piece in a contemplative, melancholy mood that starts gently and quietly but gradually builds to a dramatic intensity. The fourth piece, Unisono Toccata, is a virtuoso toccata with a lighthearted energy, consisting mainly of fast, baroque-like figurations played in unison by all three players. The piano has an important solo passage in this piece. White material, the fifth piece that concludes the cycle, uses only the ‘white’ notes of the C-major scale (no sharps or flats): after fourteen icy chords (whose durations are again derived from the Fibonacci series) the music continues in a dreamlike, lush and ethereal atmosphere.

Click on the player below to listen to an audio sample of movement IV, Unisono Toccata.