Five Pieces for Orchestra

  • Prokaryote
  • Fever Dream
  • Pigments
  • Lucid Dream
  • Eukaryote


Five Pieces for Orchestra was written at a time when my obsession with Schoenberg and Webern were at their height.  I wrote this piece while on the road travelling from New York to Chicago and then from Chicago to New Mexico. This is one of the last works I wrote before taking a long break from composition, and it marks the end of a compositional style that I had been working on for the previous ten years. The subtitles of the movements come from a few sources, which I used to inspire the music of each movement. At that time, I was very interested in biology and spent a lot of time reading about current developments in science while on the road.  

In simpler terms, a prokaryote is a single cell organism without a nucleus, some examples would include bacteria and archaea, it is a bit less complex than its counterpart, the eukaryote. Eukaryotes have nuclei are usually multicellular, and considerably larger than prokaryotes.  Some examples of eukaryotes are plants, animals and fungus. These two movements bind Five Pieces for Orchestra; they symbolise an evolutionary progression of simple to complex.

Fever Dream and Lucid Dream also take their inspiration from a non-musical place. My friend with whom I was travelling at the time was very interested in dreams, how people interact with them, their significance, and the possibility of controlling them. These two movements are two types of dreams he told me about. He described a fever dream as a dream that one has when their body is fighting off an ailment. Fever dreams often happen at a level of consciousness closer to being awake than being asleep. This is one of the reasons we can usually remember them quite well. The fever dream tends to be particularly confusing and intense. Lucid dreams are related to the fever dream in that while having a lucid dream one becomes aware they are dreaming, which brings them closer to being awake. Some people believe that while experiencing a lucid dream they can control or manipulate the dream in some way while remaining asleep. 

Pigments is middle movement of Five Pieces and it is written for a smaller subset of the orchestra. The strings all play in two part divisi with bassoons creating a semi-melodic framework to support the shifting harmonies. This movement shifts and blends string harmonies like the mixing of paint to achieve the right shade.




︎Five Pieces.pdf

2 Flutes [2 Piccolos]
3 Oboes [3 = English Horn]
3 Clarinets [3 = Bass Clarinet]
3 Bassoons [3 = Contrabassoon]
1 Tenor Saxophone
1 Baritone Saxophone
4 Horns
2 Trumpets
2 Trombones
1 Tuba
4 Percussion