Opal

instrumentation :  piano 4-hands + marimba + vibraphone

2011
duration :  13'00"
commissioned by the Sinopia Quartet
premiere :  10.19.11 by Sinopia at iBeam | New York


        Like many of my recent pieces, Opal has a simple two-part structure, the first embodying an obsessive or hyperactive fixation with sound, and the second serving as a sort of reconciliation. In Opal this structure dwells on color, and the two halves explore this element of sound aggressively through rhythm and register (the first part), and cautiously through harmony and pacing (the second).
        An opal is a rare gemstone prized for its paneling of colors which seem to emanate from the center. Ironically, for all its value the opal is made up of nothing more than simple quartz with water trapped inside, refracting light that passes through it. Maybe a similar "paneling" of sounds can be heard in my piece.