Inbound for alto saxophone, violin, piano, and page turner (2007-8)
Premiered by Philipp Stäudlin, Kate Vincent, John McDonald, and Phil Acimovic at Tufts University and by the Longitude New Music Ensemble at the Longy School of Music.
Inbound is an aural interpretation of a journey beneath the streets of Somerville, Cambridge, and Boston, riding the red line. It takes the listener from the platform of the Davis Sq. station, through the successive stops, ending in the bustling Park St. Station. Through a compilation of timings from different research rides, I chose to pace musical events to closely, if not exactly coincide with the time span of this particular journey. Generally, the piano propels the listener through the tunnels while the saxophone and viola produce notable sounds and evocations. The use of “sub” sounds is prominent throughout. This is especially true for the piano, which remains in a low register, except for the majestic “above ground” section when the train crosses the Charles River. The choice of instrumentation also reflects the communal and diverse nature of subway riders. Personal impression and experience played a large role in my compositional process, and the music should allude to my observations. However, at no time do I expect or desire the music to sound exactly the same as what one would hear on the train. With that in mind, I strove to connect my personal musical language to events in such a way that listeners can appreciate the music whether or not they are familiar with this particular soundscape. I hope that this piece also inspires the listener to take the time to notice the intriguing soundscapes that they encounter and may usually take for granted. In a culture of hyper-speed and hyper-stimulation, stepping back and tuning into one’s environment can be at-once refreshing and alarming.