The City of Tomorrow
RED NOTE New Music Festival
Kemp Recital Hall, Illinois State University
4/1/15 | Normal, IL | 8pm
Stephanie Bell (flute), Sarah Minneman (oboe), Sergio Coelho (clarinet), Emily Schoendorf (bassoon), Matt Otto (horn)
Alfred Newman Recital Hall
University of Southern California
4/4/16 | Los Angeles, CA | 7:30pm
Word Salads was written for the City of Tomorrow wind quintet as part of the 2015 RED NOTE New Music Festival Composition Workshop led by Steven Stucky and Carl Schimmel. The premiere performance is April 1, 2015 at Illinois State University, Normal, IL.
A word salad is “a confused or unintelligible mixture of seemingly random words and phrases, specifically (in psychiatry) as a form of speech indicative of advanced schizophrenia.” Each movement of this three-movement wind quintet is title after a word salad. The first movement, the seething city overflows the saucepan of its eyelids, takes its title from “Volt” by surrealist poet Tristan Tzara. The second movement’s title, colorless green ideas sleep furiously, is a sentence invented by famed linguist Noam Chomsky, who aimed to make a sentence that was grammatically correct but semantically meaningless. The title of the last movement, grug pubbawup zink wattoom gazork, comes from a Calvin and Hobbes comic strip; it is part of Calvin’s answer when prompted to “Explain Newton’s First Law of Motion in [his] own words.” While the context of each title served as early forms of inspiration to me while composing, I ultimately crafted each movement simply as a sonic portrait of the poetic absurdism of its title.