grandFather, composed in Chicago between August of 2012 and September of 2014, inhabits a world of musical complexity without equal in my prior or subsequent works. Although many of the compositional techniques and notational conventions employed can be traced to a careful study and consideration of the works of musical forbears and colleagues, the aesthetic justifications for their use herein are entirely personal.
The piece’s rhythmic complexity and baroque tablature notation are intended to circumvent the fluency of execution and facility usually possessed by players of a high level of technical mastery. The intended effect of such a seemingly obtuse avoidance is to nurture a situation in which the performer can confront the score and slowly, painstakingly construct an interpretation that is entirely personal.
The score’s overwrought detail and complexity, especially in the context of the bassoon’s already byzantine mechanism, also contributes to a situation of struggle in which the perform finds herself: a struggle with the instrument, a struggle with an unfamiliar notation, a struggle with inherently volatile instrumental techniques, and a struggle with the composer’s aggressively prescriptive rhythms. These struggles are meant to evoke and mirror the struggles of the contemporary individual in the face of oppressive social and economic forces.
grandFather was premiered by Ben Roidl-Ward at Northwestern University’s Galvin Recital Hall on January 22, 2016.