Tower, Joan - Rising (for flute and string quartet) (2009)
March 31, 2010
Carol Wincenc, flute
Juilliard String Quartet
The Juilliard School, New York, NY
I have always been interested in how music can "go up." It is a simple action, but one that can have so many variables: slow or fast tempos, accelerating, slowing down, getting louder or softer — with thick or thin surrounding textures going in the same or opposite directions. For me, it is the context and the feel of the action that matters. A long climb, for example, might signal something important to come (and often hard to deliver on!). A short climb, on the other hand, might be just a hop to another phrase. One can’t, however, just go up. There should be a counteracting action which is either going down or staying the same to provide a tension within the piece. (I think some of our great composers, especially Beethoven, were aware of the power of the interaction of these "actions.")
The main theme in Rising is an ascent motion using different kinds of scales — mostly octatonic or chromatic — and occasionally arpeggios. These upward motions are then put through different filters, packages of time and varying degrees of heat environments which interact with competing static and downward motions.
— Joan Tower