A Sunless Room
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A Sunless Room is a musical composition 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.