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    Adam Greene     composer


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Emblems (1997)

Chamber Orchestra: 2(1picc., 2Alto)1.1(B.Cl.).0 – – Perc(3) – String Quintet
duration ca. 15’
SMMP No. 109

Mandeville Center, University of California, San Diego, May 1, 2001. Members of SONOR, featuring Steven Schick and Bertram Turetzky; Colin McAllister, conductor.

Program Note
I. grains of sand
II. Elsewhere is a negative mirror emblem among emblems. sabbia, ancora.

Emblems uses quotations from Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities as well as from his book of essays, Collezione di sabbia, in order to establish the expressive domain in the music. The instruments are arranged into four mini-ensembles, each distinguished by its unique timbric identity, spatial location, and gestural palette. These mini-ensembles alternate quite rapidly, with tutti soundings of the entire ensemble acting as intermediary states. As the piece progresses, however, the alternation between mini-ensembles slows; thus allowing each to occupy its own space without fear of immediate interruption. At the same time, as each individual's voice is extended and elaborated the common features between them begin to emerge. Or is it rather the case that as the piece progresses the previously differentiated individuals dissolve together? The emblems that finally appear at the end of the work do so only briefly, slipping “…like grains of sand…” through our fingertips. Emblems accommodates a broad range of interpretations, I believe, which begins to capture the fluid, yet elusive character of Calvino’s writings. .