When working on a new composition, I usually start at the beginning and work my way through to the end, and so the piece is what we call ‘through composed’. clusterstruck took a different route. It began as a small thematic melody for which I had no context. This fragment felt like a rather weighty idea that deserved to be built up to, and so it became the middle section of the work. In a moment of frustration trying to devise new material for the beginning of the piece, I smashed both of my hands onto the piano, blurred the sound with the sustain pedal, and sat listening to the sonic mush. This idea of cluster chords with emerging notes became rich fodder for which to contextualize the thematic melody, and now forms the beginning of the piece.
Premiere: Greg DeTurck, Philadelphia, December 2013
Commissioned by Professor Emily Dolan, University of Pennsylvania
Erica Ball, Philadelphia, Penn Composers Guild, April 2014