Prime Materials

for sixteen players
Written for the Eastman Composers Sinfonietta
12 minutes

Program Note

Prime Materials was written for the Eastman Composers Sinfonietta, and is in many ways a companion piece to my previous work for the ensemble, The City of Doors. The central compositional atom of the piece for example is a single chord borrowed from the previous work, being only slightly recast. I then extemporized on how this single atom could, through its segmentation into smaller parts and via various re-orderings, create larger modules or influence the logic of how the structure and goal-direction of the work behaved. The result of this process is a series of cyclically referential structures that continuously re-assert themselves endowing the piece with a somewhat meditative or ritualistic quality.

Titles in many of my works can be seen as a microcosm of influences, ideas, or the mindset that was present as I was writing. Prime Materials follows this approach containing a number of allusions and references. It is a nod to the close compositional relationship between this work and The City of Doors by drawing connections to the city of Sigil, and the Prime Material Plane found in the fictional universe of Planescape. As previously noted its language it also suggests part of how this work was constructed, and perhaps a clue as to where and what the central atom might be.