Faded Songs (2014/2015/2016)
three palimpsests for mixed ensemble

  1. After F. Chopin
    • 2 violins (1st with mute, 2nd with practice mute), viola (with practice mute), cello (with practice mute, contrabass (with practice mute)
  2. After J.S. Bach and R.R. Parry (has been performed separately as "each other")
    • clarinet in B-flat, bass clarinet, crotales (bowed)
  3. After R. Schumann and J.-C. Risset)
    • clarinet in B-flat, bass clarinet, block of wood (or other clock-like "ticking sound" – NOT a woodblock), 2 violins (with mutes), viola (with mute), cello, double bass, piano solo

I’ve long been fascinated by palimpsests in music – the subtle (and risky!) art of rewriting, deconstructing, even vandalizing an existing work, with the aim of recontextualizing the familiar. The present set of three movements is a compilation of my previous efforts with this technique, through the past two years, slightly revised.

Each of the three pieces I chose as a subject represents to me something very specific, which I’ve tried to elucidate through my erasure. For the Bach and Schumann pieces, especially, I’ve imposed programmatic suggestions: a scene of two sleepers dreaming of each other, and an evocation of the passing of youth and the inexorable procession of time.

Faded Songs was first performed in its entirety by Wild Up, conducted by Christopher Rountree, in April 2016. It was the winner of the 2016 Hugo Davise Composition Competition at UCLA.