originally composed in great haste during the last two weeks
of January 2000. It was then performed for the first time under
the name Untitled on February 25th of the same year with
the Manhattan School of Music Composers Orchestra, conducted
by Glen Barton Cortese.
following fall, I revised the piece considerably, trying to fully
bring the idea of a vortex into play. Although always
an integral part of the idea of the piece, it was only at this
time that I was able to realize this concept, inherent in the
thematic textures created from rhythms that accelerate and then
slow down in different combinations of woodwind and percussion
instruments. Amidst these rhythmic textures is also a wide assortment
of "swirls, eddies, and cosmic clouds" of sound,
made by overlapping tuplets of different instrumental colors.
a dramatic sense, the piece is also somewhat like a vortex. It
climbs up to a "whirling" frenzy during the climax of the piece,
and then settles into a ominously serene, floating haze of
strings. "Bubbles" of woodwind and percussion color rise to
the surface while a solo violin and cello duet reiterates the
opening melodic theme in an intimate, yet emotionally charged
cadenza. After the climax of the duet, the orchestra begins
whirling once more before a disintegrating "explosion" marks
the end of the piece.
New Jersey Symphony gave the official premiere of the revised
version of the work on July 13, 2002 with Lawrence Leighton Smith
conducting. Although a relatively new work, Vortices borrows
much from two earlier pieces - Samsara and
for Violin and Cello.
Unfortunately, due to rules laid
out by the American Federation of Musicians, I have been unable
to receive a recording of the performance. As a consequence, the MP3 link on this page
is to a recording of the first reading of the work from the Manhattan
School of Music concert mentioned above.