Chaos Control: lortnoC soahC (2012)

Duration: 12’30

1. Control
2. Chaos

Instrumentation: solo marimba

Commissioned by NYC Percussionist Laura Jordan

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Chaos Control: lortnoC soahC is my first commissioned piece for percussion.  Since writing for these instruments was not a familiar ground for me as other sections in our standard concept of the western ensemble, I decided to explore all avenues and possibilities in the piece.  Written in two sections, surprisingly the title of second movement Chaos starts with the title, whereas Control opens the work; this was intentional. The title came to me after writing many drafts that were designed to be a one movement composition, yet due it having different types of textures, it split into opposing forces.  “Chaos Control” was once a reference to a Kandinsky canvas painted on both sides.  With respect to my composition, Control features a slow hypnotic continued oriented pulse coming in and out in the marimba, as it matches the timbre and the rhythms of the non-pitched instruments utilized, including the Glockenspiel.  Chaos, on the other hand, exudes constant tension and anxious textural sections, becoming more of a diffused ensemble between all the instruments involved.

The choice to title this as an asymmetrical anagram (with the second italicized) was due to both movements mirroring each other on both ironic elements.  Control is thorough composed, yet peaceful and tranquil throughout.  Chaos has a hint of a traditional rondo form, while quoting some motives from Control, and concluding the piece in a similar fashion.  The nature and the title of the piece became evident as I wanted to explore many aspects of percussion writing.  In conclusion, I attempted to depict how a state of control, whether in one’s psyche or in a civilized society, is often chaotic at the same time, and vice versa; this is the paradox that lead to my peculiar title.

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