Bombinate (2012) for 3 Soprano Saxophones
and Singing Bowl
Part I: The Depth Psychology of Heroism
The Terror of Death
Part II: The Failures of Heroism
A General View of Mental Illness
Part III: Retrospect and Conclusion: The Dilemmas of Heroism
What is the Heroic Individual?
This composition serves as my musical representation of the ideas that were conveyed by Ernest Becker in the book titled The Denial of Death. Facing the nearness of death himself, Becker gifts his philosophy that human behavior is shaped by our need to deny the terror of death in a world where we all must inevitably die. For this reason, humans invest their lives searching for immortality. We create a hero system in which we will survive death by engaging in something of lasting worth.
"This is the terror: to have emerged from nothing, to have a name, consciousness of self, deep inner feelings, an excruciating inner yearning for life and self-expression-- and with all this yet to die."
Commissioned by the Oklahoma Music Teachers Association for the MTNA Commissioned Composer program.
Ten Years of Silence was composed for and dedicated to the h2 quartet to commemorate their tenth anniversary as a quartet. The title has a double meaning, referencing the significant influence that the members of the quartet have had on one another over the course of ten years, as well as symbolizing that this ten-year period would serve as a departure point or precursor to greater collective achievement in the future. The music highlights struggle – not necessarily in the professional interactions of the ensemble, but rather the personal struggles of working so closely together with a small group of people for an extended period of time. It highlights how the quartet fought through collective and individual shortcomings, expresses how they coped with the loss of loved ones, underscores how the quartet dealt with the challenges of working together as a single entity while simultaneously being competitors in the same field, and chronicles how the quartet grew apart and (hopefully) back together again. Above all, it references a mutual determination to persevere even through the many difficulties in life.
The music is divided into ten "sections" or "movements" and is designed in such a way that performers can omit sections of their choosing should a shorter performance be desired. Though performers have the liberty of choosing which sections to play, the sections should always be performed chronologically. Dedicated to Kim, Jonathan, and Geoff – the three individuals who had the most profound influence on my life for these ten years.
I. Cold Sober
II. Grim-faced, Leaden
III. Muted, solemn, Relentlessly severe
IV. Gruff, Barreling, Nimble
V. Lopsided waltz, Hurting
VII. Intense, Unstable, Deteriorating
VIII. Nostalgic, Regretful
IX. Nebulous, Deliberate
“Bombinate is scored for three soprano saxophones and singing bowl. The singing bowl is performed by the third soprano saxophonist. The word bombinate is a literary device, which means to make a humming or buzzing noise. The work is largely centered around concert D, which is initially sounded by the singing bowl. The saxophone parts weave in and out of this center pitch the microtonal fluctuations, tone distortions, and articulative techniques. The ‘buzzing’ noise comes from this constant sounding of a center pitch, which is at times very faint and at other times only inferred. Though the work is a meditation, it also showcases the wide range of emotions from frenetic energy to anger when we close our eyes and reflect on our surroundings.
Discordant Thoughts of a Seething Mind (2015)
for Saxophone Ensemble
Discordant Thoughts of a Seething Mind was premiered at the Seventeenth World Saxophone Congress in Strasbourg, France by the Cortona Sessions for New Music Saxophone Collective. The music is composed in such a way where it can be played with a flexible instrumentation in the baritone/bass saxophone parts. Ideally, all three baritone saxophone parts and the bass saxophone part will be performed. Otherwise, the bass saxophone or baritone saxophone III part may be omitted. There is also an optional soprano saxophone part, which can substitute for the sopranino part.
Worthless (2018) for Saxophone Quartet
Ten Years of Silence (2016)
for Saxophone Quartet