I have posted the score for my 1994 piano trio (violin, cello, and piano) titled Derivations to my Scores page. Derivations was the last composition I completed while living in Gainesville, FL, just before my move to Buffalo, NY in August of 1994. It is also the last composition I completed before beginning my doctoral studies at the University at Buffalo.
At the time I composed Derivations I was interested in combining and juxtaposing different compositional techniques, then processing musical material material through various combinations of those techniques.. The title refers to the derivations of source materials that resulted from this method. The techniques utilized include aleatoric counterpoint (Lutoslawski), and process-oriented minimalist techniques (Reich, Glass, et al), both applied to juxtaposed quartal (vertical and horizontal) pitch sets (a method I had begun to develop at that time and continue to explore).
On the surface, Derivations is very different from my second piano trio, Things Get Out of Hand… yet there is a strong family resemblance. In Derivations, performer-based aleatoric gestures are tightly controlled, in Things Get Out of Hand, jazz-inspired improvisation-like passages are completely through-composed. In Derivations, I had just began to explore juxtaposed quartal harmonies, in Things Get Out of Hand I had just began to explore juxtaposed quartal and extended tertian (i.e. jazz) harmonies. Both pieces share a similar approach to a process-oriented method of moving through rhythmic and harmonic materials. The differences between the pieces are largely owing to intent. Derivations was an academic exploration of the possible combinations and juxtapositions of a variety of composition techniques… a search for the “new”. Things Get Out of Hand was written on a commission from the Out of Bounds Ensemble and was intended to be a concert work, a piece to be performed and heard by audiences who appreciate the likes of the Ravel piano trio or the Shostakocich trios. It also embraces and draws inspiration from my love and history with jazz and progressive rock… a return to (and embrace of) my musical past.