So Far So Good (2011)
from Thursday, November3rd of the year2016.
Commissioned by Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra (lead commissioner), Edwin Outwater, Music Director, Seattle Symphony Orchestra and Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.
So Far So Good is the first piece of non-programmatic orchestral music I’ve written in about five years. It was simultaneously thrilling and unnerving to write something without a dramatic structure helping me along. As such, the piece is sort of free-form. There are two recurring passacaglias: the first, at the beginning of the piece, a dirge-like brass drone. The second is a more flighty, chromatic affair, presented in evenly-stacked piles of woodwinds. I’m still a little frightened of the trumpet, so I wrote a nice big solo for him (or her) near the start of the piece. After these initial expositions, we enter a sort of mathematical ostinato-world for a few minutes. The motor of clarinets, harp, and piano carries us through several decadent harmonic spaces, but there is perpetual motion throughout. Each cycle of ostanati is antagonized by the brass, until the piece begins to reverse itself, and we revisit earlier terrains. An extended drone in the strings and piano anchors the conclusion.