NETS MOVE SLOWLY, YET
for ensemble (2006-07 / revised 2018)
This piece was composed in 2006-07, immediately following my work Stopping for two vibraphones.
Its form consists of a series of contrasting tableaux which invite the listener to discover the very subtle dynamic, pitch and timbral gradations within a series of static harmonic fields, or ‘nets’. As the title suggests, the fields gradually drift over time. The title is derived from a poem written around the same time, and included in my 2009 book, Evidence (Quattro Books, Toronto).
Due to the piece’s meditative and exploratory nature, the rate of harmonic change is correspondingly slow.
The harmonic fields are irrigated by numerous solos for the horn player, which lend a continual melodic thread to the music.
Several different, contrasting characters are brought into dialogue in this work: subtle, very quiet explorations of individual sounds within a fixed harmonic framework; sudden, noisy interjections in which a maximum of acoustic energy is called forth from the ensemble; the aforementioned horn solos; and finally, brief, often rapid figures that occasionally come into view, disappearing as suddenly as they appear. Often, these various characters are superimposed, in a polyphony of distinct worlds that run through and cross over each other.
The work culminates in a slow-moving, double chorale with rhythmically independent layers in the strings and the winds, along with alternating solos for the oboe and marimba players.