Everything All At Once

instrumentation :  percussion + percussion

duration :  11’00"
written for Matt Sharrock and Karlyn Mason
premiere :  4.22.11 by Matt Sharrock and Karlyn Mason | Boston

I. Cáceres
II. Salamanca

        I wrote Everything All At Once at a time when I felt the supposed freedom of contemporary composition to be too dogmatic. There is an unspoken list of permissibly modern effects one may write, and if the composer avoids these, he gets thrown in some "Romantic" camp or another. The resulting music is as much a response to this unfortunate fact of life as to a wholly different source of inspiration. Several years ago I lived in Spain and had the chance to see many of the ancient towns. As I began to form this piece, the notion of stylistic multiplicity and contradictions brought me once again to memories of some of Spain's most striking towns.
        Cáceres is a small city in southwestern Extremadura, a poor state known for its cork trees. Cáceres is suffering a lengthy economic recession, and modernization is spotty– within a small area one can see the old town with the cathedral, the tourist strip, the mall, the business district, and so on. There is a feeling of reluctant compromise between all elements of this city, and despite its beauty I couldn't help but experience the culture as self-contradictory.
        Salamanca, in Castilla la Mancha in central Spain, is a town where the modern has thoroughly meshed with the ancient. Alongside the Plaza Mayor and the university (one of the world's oldest), sit trendy clothing stores and nightclubs. What I loved most was that Salamanca gave off no air of contradiction; instead, it felt like I was simultaneously visiting two different times. The notions of contradictions, multiplicity, and unity form the basis of this piece.

[performed by Matt Sharrock and Karlyn Mason]