Cryptogram (2011) for wind ensemble
Cryptogram is a nine-minute, one-movement composition for wind ensemble that explores the use of embedded musical quotations to generate basic melodic, harmonic, and formal structures. In contrast to traditional quotation, where appropriated music is often presented in a recognizable context, the source material of this work is completely integrated and fundamentally transformed, similar to the way a text is encrypted into code. Thus the sources, an eighth note rhythmic grid, a melodic phrase, and several gestural fragments, produce all of the musical material in the piece, yet are never stated explicitly. Another important feature of Cryptogram is the use of polystylism to create immediate dramatic contrast, as well as to underscore large-scale formal symmetry. The emphatically tacky fanfare at bar 78 serves as an example of both functions, creating a local counterpoint to the tense harmonic language and gestural ambiguity of the opening of the piece, while also representing a formal stylistic counterweight, symmetrically corresponding to the same material re-imagined as a pounding, neo- Stravinskian dirge at bar 172. This exemplifies the fundamental goal of the piece: to use musical quotation and polystylism, not to create an ironic postmodern pastiche, but rather a formally coherent, materially consistent work with an audible dramatic arc.
Table of Contents
Abstract -- Instrumentation -- Cryptogram (2011) for wind Ensemble -- Vita