Growing Block View (2013)
for bass clarinet, tuba, string bass, and piano
III. Square One
"Growing Block View” is the name of a particular theory of time, one which perceives the universe as a block that continuously grows with the passage of time. The past and present both exist, but the future does not. As a constant state of the present unfolds, the block grows. Resembling this phenomenon, the work as a whole explores “blocks” of sounds, each of which have chances to expand, but also remain static, stuck on the past. All three movements portray such a sense of stasis, or an inability to move on to the future. In fact, the working title for this piece was, “Begin Again”, which stems from the starting, stopping, and restarting nature of its thematic development.
The first, “Enchained”, features a one-pitch figure that expands, works itself to a clamorous halt, and then restarts. The movement attempts to expand little by little, and to progress through contrasting invocations of styles, such as gestures that may be found in electronica music. But ultimately, it returns to the past, “enchained” to the one-pitch figure. In the second movement, “Anticyclone”, the spooling melodies and blurry textures depict the haziness that can occur in an anticyclone phenomenon. The opposite of cyclones, anticyclones are calm. In summer, they create hot and dry conditions, with no clouds, while in cold conditions, they can produce fog and frost overnight. The last, “Square One”, returns to themes from the first movement, this time presented in different perspectives.
Growing Block View was commissioned by the Holben Publishing Consortium.