CHRISTOPHER BIGGS

Object Metamorphosis for wind ensemble and electronics (2010)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Performed by the UMKC Wind Symphony
Conducted by Stephen Davis

Program Notes

Object Metamorphosis is a composition for wind symphony and digital audio based on a work of art by Jorge Garcia Almodovar entitled Black Modules (pictured below on the right wall).  Alomodovar’s work consists of ten identically sized and shaped, black, rectangular modules.  The sides of each three-dimensional module are either entirely or partially hidden, depending on the perspective of the viewer, and each side is a colored, reflective surface.         
CharlotteStreet                                   

My interpretation of Almodovar’s work influenced the music in terms of the composition’s fundamental pitch structure and proportions.  I grouped the ten modules into six segments.  Each segment has its own section of music associated with it.  These segments were mapped to a pitch progression (G-F-G-F-B-G) and proportional durations (3-2-3-2-4-2).   Both the pitch sequence and durational pattern operate on various structural levels—global, sectional, and local.  This is a fractal process: Almodovar noted fractal structures as an influence on his work.
theory
In addition to the underlying pitch and proportion structures there is a tonic chord, pictured below, that all sections of the work draw on for their vertical pitch material.  The chord functions as a tonic in the sense that other chords tend to gravitate towards this chord in this specific arrangement at various transposition levels.  The Bb, a minor third above the root, tends to operate melodically more than harmonically.  It is also important to state that this chord is essentially an extended dominant seventh chord, in this transposition it is built on G.
 theory2
As I contemplated Almodovar’s work I perceived two dichotomies.  The first was the distinction between the uniform elements aggregating into a singular whole, while each individual portion of the whole is clearly separated.  I determined this dichotomy to be appropriate for generating an underlying process for the form of the work: the changes between the sections of the composition and the phrases within each section are largely unmediated and immediate; however, there is an overall process that moves from extremely abstract, dissociated, non-continuous materials to engaged, continuous content.                                            

The second dichotomy influenced the sentiment of the musical materials.  For me both the blackness and the semi-hidden colors had two meanings: the blackness represents the inevitability of loss and a meditative, inner peace; while the reflective surfaces represent persistent memories of something lost and the inability to disassociate from the positive and negative drama of everyday life.  The music reflects these concepts in what I consider the frequently somber sentiment and the constant striving towards something that feels unrealized or no longer exists.  The first ten minutes of the music are dominated by upward motion—striving towards something, while the last two minutes descend into nothingness.

 

The entire score and all performance/rehearsal materials are available for download.
Please let me know if you have any questions or if you are interested in performing this work.

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