Construction in Process… (2010)

Duration: 6’30

Instrumentation: flue, clarinet, percussion, piano, violin, viola, violoncello

Written for the DETOUR New Music Ensemble
Performed by Signal Ensemble at the 2011 June in Buffalo Festival
Brad Lubman, Conductor

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“Construction in Process…” is written for flute, clarinet, percussion, piano, violin, viola, and violoncello. It has a length of 6-7 minutes, and was premiered by the DETOUR New Music Ensemble at the Galapagos Art Space in Brooklyn on January 21, 2011. It was also performed by Signal Ensemble at the 2011 June in Buffalo Festival, conducted by Brad Lubman.

I have always been intrigued by the “process in itself concept” as it pertains to the act of composing.  The “process” of constructing a piece of music is an art in and of itself, rather than the finished product per se.  Before starting this piece, I had recently attended Marina Abramović’s exhibit “The Artist is Present” at the Museum of Modern Art in NY.  Although my piece has no aesthetic relation to her exhibit, I was captivated by the live performance aspect in the making that culminated in her work, which inspired me to write a piece based on that analogy.

“Construction in Process…” does not feature any type of live improvisational or ‘aleotoric” techniques that could be linked to this theoretical notion of “art as a process.”  Rather, it is the composition itself that is constructed on small motives that seek to represent this specialized concept.

Ravel’s “Bolero” had come to my mind when starting this piece.  Although it is featured as a composition related to dance movements, a few musicologists have pointed out that Ravel was influenced by the sounds of construction at factories that could be heard from his villa in Montfort-l’Amaury, France.  As daily construction looms around my apartment in Harlem, I had put these two notions together, observing the beauty in the process of a composed work, rather than the completed masterpiece.

“Construction in Process…” has a hint of a sonata-allegro form.  However, it is very subtle, as the small motives and light fragmented themes repetitively colliding and building upon each other become the dominant force of the piece. It was composed in the months of May and June of 2010 in New York City. This piece and performance will be dedicated to the memory of John Jennings, my best friend of 20 years who helped construct certain aspects of my life.