A Baby Bigger Grows Than Up Was, Vol. I: A to breathing
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(baritone, bass clarinet, trumpet, and trombone), 5 min., 2013.
loadbang ensemble, 2013
“A Baby Bigger Grows Than Up Was” is an alphabetized story by the Baltimore-based writer Michael Kimball, published under the (deliciously Baltimore-appropriate) pseudonym Andy Devine. I was drawn to this text because of the musical interest created by the opposing processes inherent to the story. On the one hand, the repetition of words gradually forces them to lose their meaning and fragment into purely sonic events. Simultaneously and paradoxically, the relative stress created by repeating individual words as many as 87 times allows us to perceive elements of an underlying narrative structure. Through this alphabetized tale, we find intimations of more traditional stories that might possibly provide expressive foundations for our listening experience. In order to highlight the musicality of the story and its inexorable organization, I utilized the inherent pitches from the sound formants of the vowels in order to generate the harmony. If one were to read the text aloud, the vowels themselves would create similar harmonic progressions as are found in this setting.
This work was composed for the ensemble loadbang and is dedicated to them with great admiration.