for percussion quartet, 10 mins
Surfacing deals with the emergence and re-emergence of musical material. The opening section yields a melody (of sorts) through dynamics applied to toms, each a unique pitch. In another section, something similar happens with crotales. There are patterns, melodies (of sorts), and rhythmic cycles that we hear in part, but never in full. They are covered by other material, other instruments, and mostly by shifting frames through which we are only permitted to see a piece of the whole. The material, in a way, fights for space as well. This is particularly the case in the last several minutes. Technically, the work derives from a series that includes all possible permutations of 4 elements. That, in itself, is not musically interesting, but through assigning one reading of the series to a particular element of a passage (like pitch or note value), then a rotated or reversed reading of the series to another (like instrument or dynamic), and so on, interesting “starter” material can result. It was with such material that I formed the composition.
The piece was written at the request of Max Riefer for his students at UiTM in Shah Alam, Malaysia, near Kuala Lumpur. Hence, it was written with students in mind and designed to give beginning University percussionists an opportunity to practice ensemble skills and unison rhythmic playing with shifting tuplets.