Minkowski Etudes (2018) for trumpet and interactive electronics

Minkowski Etudes was commissioned by Dylan Koester in 2017. It is a three-movement work that explores different concepts of time perception.

The first movement, Distant Haze, represents the imperfect recollection of individual past memories. It takes its primary thematic material, at first purely acoustic and unmanipulated, and then recalls it as randomly-controlled background noise with (mostly) slight variations in tempo.

The second movement, Total Recall, represents the interaction of the present with various iterations of the immediate past as pure and deliberately measured canons.

The third movement, Spacetimes, represents the interaction of one state of present spacetime with other spacetimes (theorized as a possible fifth-dimension in string theory; more commonly analogous to what is now popularly known as the multiverse theory) in simultaneity. It replicates the primary thematic material in real spacetime but with variations in pitch and energy as alternate spacetimes that can consequently lead to unknown long-term changes in those alternative spacetimes. It also echoes themes from the first two movements.

When Dylan commissioned me to write a piece for his senior recital, I was originally going to write it as either a solo trumpet work or a trumpet duet. When the idea of including interactive electronics started to take shape, it was both appealing and daunting – it had been over a decade since I had done any serious Max programming aside from a few scant exercises, and most of my experience had only been working with the MIDI side of Max.

In the end, I opted to tackle it because I feel like I have a lot to say in the electronic media space, particularly interactive music and art. I immediately resonated with Max during my undergraduate years and my passion for electronic music led me to have it be an integral component to my masters thesis. Re-immersing myself in Max, reminding myself of its diverse capabilities, and constantly discovering and creating new ways to implement my creative vision has been like rekindling the relationship of a long lost close friend – familiar yet new, awkward but comfortable, inspiring and joyful.

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