Ritornelli Scuro e Sconosciuti

Ritornelli Scuro e Sconsciuti (loosely, “Dark and Unknown Repirses”) was commissioned by the Phoenix Chamber Brass in 2010.  My objective was to create a sort of anti-fanfare: a work with no particular goal, that flies in the face of the masculine “thrust” of its ensemble, and that revels in the sonic event of the present moment rather than in the long-range resolution of a musical conflict.

The work is made up of five sections of varying lengths and tempi.  Some of the sections are related to one another, although I worked hard to obscure these connections. The pitch organization is loosely serial: I worked within the confines of the twelve-tone system, albeit with a fair amount of freedom.  Notes are frequently repeated or their positions in the row exchanged.  In other passages I used subsets of the row to create imitative, isorhythmic, and klangfarben (sound/color) textures.  I obscured the sense of tonality by avoiding fourths and fifths, instead relying on melodic gestures consisting of half steps and tritones.  The melodic shapes are frequently quite small, made up of five of less pitches.

Ritornelli was first performed at Trinity Cathedral in Phoenix, AZ in January, 2012 by the Phoenix Chamber Brass.  They are also heard on this beautiful studio recording.

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