When I sit at the piano to practice, I begin with a meditation to clear and prepare my mind and fingers: the left hand plays an ostinato pattern in rhythmic groups of 3 while the right hand is free to phase in and out of synch using patterns of opposing numbers. Left to right, respectively, it may be 3:1, 3:2, 3:3, 3:4, etc. This piece, Ratios I, evolved from these piano meditations into a larger composition for string ensemble and piano. It utilizes Serialist processes (i.e. tone matrices) applied to a Minimalist tone-palette (i.e. rhythmic and melodic structures). One may think of it as scenery viewed from the window of a moving train: the piano’s driving ostinato (sempre forte) as a constant horizon off in the distance, sometimes obscured by hills and valleys; foreground, midground, and background created by the different string sections.
Performed by the Aurora Chamber Orchestra on June 17th, 2019 at the North Kingstown Public Library in North Kingstown, RI.