About Dissolve


2(2=picc.).2.2.2 / / timp + 1 perc / strings

Program note

I wrote Dissolve as a challenge to myself. I’ve been working in film and TV music as a music editor, and the speed with which those composers and their teams work is astounding. So I wondered, “hey, could I knock out a piece for orchestra in a day or two?” The days were separated by a weekend, but I got the first three minutes down on Friday and the last six down the following Monday. The instrumentation was determined by a call for scores from the Lowell Chamber Orchestra, though I have since made a version with doubled winds to give the players a break here and there.

As a music editor I am constantly using crossfades to blend between sections of music, or cues, seamlessly. This idea drove my writing; for the most part, the material only changes one sound at a time. You might not even notice the change, but compare what you’re hearing to where you were three minutes earlier and you’ll find yourself in a completely different musical texture.

About halfway through writing I realized the relationship to the film dissolve, something my former partner, who is a film editor, taught me all about, and the piece suddenly became a way to process the end of my last relationship. It likely had to do with the speed at which I wrote; less time for technique, more time to open up onto the page.
There’s a lot in this one.