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Archons (2019)

Commissioned by the Indiana University Department of Composition and the IU New Music Ensemble

Instrumentation: 1(=picc+afl).1(=ca).2(I in Bb=Ebcl, II bcl=cbcl).1(=cbsn)——perc(2)—hp(=whip)—pno(=whip)—strings(

Duration: ca. 11'

First performed: December 5th, 2019 by the Indiana University New Music Ensemble (dir. David Dzubay)

Program Note

In the ancient religion of Gnosticism, archons are demonic entities in the material world who keep the “divine spark” in each human being trapped inside, corrupting them and preventing them from attaining a connection with the divine. However, this is by no means a strictly religious work, and I chose the title Archons more for the qualities of the word itself than for its religious connotations. During the writing process, I found myself favoring textures that suggested antiquity and ritual, and so in choosing a title I felt I needed something that both matched these characteristics and referenced the “path” the piece takes. The piece follows no specific narrative or program, but the hard-edged, archaic sound and appearance of the word in print complements the general tone of the music. Above all else, this work attempts to trace a path from one extreme state to another—the music begins serenely and descends into pandemonium by the end.


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