Clang (2012) for sextet

INSTRUMENTATION: fl, Bb cl, vln, vlc, 1 perc, pno

DURATION: ca. 9:00

COMMISSIONED BY: June in Buffalo for Ensemble Signal

WINNER: Elliot S. Schwartz Student Composition Award (College Music Society Northeast Regional Chapter)


The inspiration for Clang was twofold: first, I wanted to explore an ecology of harmonies derived from fundamentals a major third apart and, second, to pay homage to the off-the-wall music of composer-turned-rocker-turned-composer Frank Zappa. A rabid polystylist, Zappa’s music has immeasurably influenced my own compositional thinking, especially regarding the use of wildly different styles to create musical tension. In the case of Clang, my concoction of harmonic residue is subjected to extreme, dynamic, registral, and stylistic flux, bringing the two opposing poles of musical attraction established in the opening towards some kind of reconciliation. It never completely works. Hopefully, though, the listener experiences something similar to the unsettled glee I feel when I listen to a particularly bizarre Zappa tune.