Portrait Sequence (Blanching Out)
for percussion duo
Portrait Sequence (Blanching Out) is built around the question, what would happen if we did not strike percussion instruments, but instead allowed them to vocalize? Although it turns out that they can’t sing very well, with an affectionate touch, they can growl, snarl, wheeze, gasp, moan, and croak. Instruments that seemed literally far removed from innate, bodily music-making — that were only as useful as far as they could be hit with a foot-long stick — become prostheses for primal expression: visceral, ghastly, and heaving, but also fluent, articulate, and sensitive.
This piece was commissioned by and dedicated to the Crossfire Percussion Duo, Jason Bauers and Bob Fullex. It would have been impossible for me to write this piece alone. It’s rare that a composer gets to enjoy such a close collaboration, and I am deeply grateful to them for the countless hours of meetings, recordings, sight-readings through terrible sketches, and harried last-minute rehearsals over the course of many months that brought this music to fruition.