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MELT (2022)

for orchestra - 18'


MELT is an eighteen-minute dance that spins and dips in perpetual motion. Occasionally, moments of rest materialize only to get swept back up in the cyclone. It is a dance of change without change—of a mobile spinning in the wind. It sounds a bit like the opening bars of Copland’s Appalachian Spring caught in a John Adams loop. 


The initial themes for MELT come from a recording called “Candy Man Blues” made by legendary finger-picking guitarist and singer ‘Mississippi’ John Hurt. MELT is a piece that honors this important recording and artist by using a transcription of Hurt’s guitar part as the skeleton for my piece. Essentially, the piece’s fundamental line (the "Urlinie") is a blues tune. The original tune, which lasts about three minutes, is time-stretched to eighteen minutes and the skeletal structure is filled in and filled out with fast activity, a few moments to rest, and the occasional side-step. 


This was originally a chamber work for six instruments commissioned by the Atlanta Chamber Players in 2020, but the entire time I was writing it I heard a full orchestra in my head! I am grateful to Morihiko Nakahara and the South Carolina Philharmonic for commissioning this new version for orchestra. The piece was premiered on April 23, 2022 at the Koger Center for the Arts in Columbia, SC. 

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