Serrated edge : toccata for orchestra
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Serrated Edge is constructed in one continuous movement of approximately twelve and a half minutes in length. The workʼs direct, aggressive, almost mechanistic character was stimulated by the authorʼs interest in the sound and intensity of several notable musical works of the 1920ʼs and 1930ʼs, in particular those that espoused a constructivist ideal. For the author, two works - Alexander Mosolovʼs Zavod and Carlos Chavezʼ H.P. (which combined constructivism with a more populist appeal) epitomize the creative background of Serrated Edge. However, unlike those two works, Serrated Edge does not contain programmatic elements. Rather, it employs a rhetorical structure, using motivic gesture and development to generate musical narrative. The musical motives used are compact and relatively simple, with distinctive melodic and rhythmic shapes. These motives are manipulated economically: through changes in orchestration, extension by repetition, transposition, and inversion, and through fragmentation and combination with other motives. While no rigorous (i.e. serial) predetermination of pitch is involved, the compositional process was influenced significantly by some of the basic ideals of that process - namely, the economy and overall uniformity of material. It was the authorʼs intent that these basic ideals provide a structural cohesion to the work, as well as reflect the workʼs creative influences.