A Sunless Room [2014-2015]

A Sunless Room
for three mixed chamber ensembles

A Sunless Room is written for 15 instruments grouped into three ensembles: high (flute, oboe, saxophone, violin, percussion), middle (flute, clarinet, violin, violoncello, percussion), and low (bass clarinet, trombone, viola, double bass, percussion). The title is inspired by Ray Bradbury’s short story “All of Summer in a Day,” and the three movement titles are taken from a poem that the story’s main character writes about the sun.

Each of the three ensembles is distinguished by its own harmonic, timbral, and registral characteristics. Throughout the work, three types of musical material — all of which are unified by a shared rhythmic language and set of proportional variations — rotate around and through the ensembles, creating a slowly-shifting, richly layered, architectural sonic environment. As each ensemble takes its turn with the material, it refracts it through its own harmonic, timbral, and registral lenses. Movement I, “I think the sun is a flower,” establishes the fundamental atmosphere for the work, while Movements II and III — titled “that blooms for just…” and “one hour,” respectively — feature a variety of eruptions, insets, solos, and other variations in texture.

While the ensembles effect various kinds of timbral distortion and blurring of the basic pitch material (trills, flutter tonguing, multiphonics, double stops, etc.) in movements I and II, this material is presented starkly and without affection in movement III.

NOTE: The program note above and score below refer to the 2015 revision of the work. The recording is the first version, from 2014.

Performers on this recording: Slee Sinfonietta
Charlotte Roth, flute 1 • Emlyn Johnson, flute 2 • Megan Kyle, oboe • Lindsay Frederickson, clarinet 1 • Jean Kopperud, clarinet 2 • Jon Nelson, trumpet • Steve Parker, trombone • Yuki Numata, violin 1 • Olivia de Prato, violin 2 • Victor Lowrie, viola • Jonathan Golove, violoncello • Tom Kolor, percussion 1 • Bob Fullex, percussion 2 • Jason Bauers, percussion 3