From Here on Out (2007)
for Benjamin Millepied
When Benjamin and I first met in Paris in 2006, he was always playing Bach. For our project with ABT, I thought I would incorporate his love of repeated chords into a set of variations on a bass line, making a simple outline for the structure of the piece (an energetic ramp with a plateau representing the central pas de deux). The music begins with a brief introduction outlining the harmonic language and pulse-based rhythms. The passacaglia theme emerges in the double-basses and celli. Instruments are drawn towards the line – a bassoon, a piano, a marimba, an insect-like rustling of strings, and the piece becomes a gradual process of addition, as the sonority changes from earthly obscurity to piercing brightness. The pas de deux interrupts this process, with a new bass line, a louche, French texture, and some ominous growling from the low brass. The energies of the final section clear the air, and a loud statement of the bass line closes the piece.