Octet

Instrumentation: flute, clarinet, horn, bassoon, violin, viola, cello, double bass

Duration: ca. 23'

First performed: October 28th, 2019 at IU, conducted by the composer

I. Sisyphus

II. Pas De Deux (Scherzo)

III. De Profundis

IV. Der Schwerpunkt (Intermezzo)

V. Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules

Program Note

This work was conceived as a series of five “studies” of the enormous range of this type of ensemble, which can function as an intimate chamber group or a miniaturized orchestra. Each movement contains a reference to the preceding movement, and the first and last movements reference each other. The first movement’s primary themes reference the titular mythological figure, rising and falling inevitably. The second movement pairs each string instrument with a wind instrument in a series of four duets. The third movement is inspired by John Martin’s massive triptych The Last Judgment. A brief interlude in German Expressionist style leads to the finale, which takes the opening chord progression in the first movement and stretches it out to three minutes, forming the harmonic structure of the movement before ending with a thunderous coda that references the beginning of the work.

Video