Instrumentation: 2 violins, viola
Written for the 2007 Bowdoin International Music Festival.
Sirens was premiered at the Bowdoin International Music Festival on August 2nd, 2007. I had written this piece under the influence of the “Doppler Effect,” which is based on “the change in frequency and wavelength of a sound wave as perceived by an observer moving relative to the source of the waves.” When visiting Paris, I was deeply seduced by the police’s siren that changed in frequency as it went of in its distance. I have always wanted to write a musical composition based on that topic. Many composers in the twentieth century have always experimented with “microtones,” which is a quarter-tone interval between a half step (or “semitone”), loosely based on the equal temperament application in music. In Sirens, the sequential falling thirds, tone clusters, and the descending chromatic voice leading through quarter tones is my very attempt to give homage to the “Doppler effect” that reminded me of the serene sounds of Paris. The piece is labeled a trio based on its instrumentation, and the contribution to the earlier structural rondo form that was popular during the Classical era.
Sirens was also performed by the Juventas New Music Ensemble at the Juventas Kammermusik Concert Series in Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts on December 5 and 7, 2008. A repeated performance by Juventas had taken place at Middlebury College in Vermont on April 12, 2010. In addition, the Brave New Works Ensemble performed Sirens at the 2011 Denison University Tutti New Music Festival on March 5, 2011, and recently had its UK premiere at The Forge, Camden, London in March of 2012.