Echo of Self, 2005 rev. 2006
For flute, bass clarinet, trumpet, violin, viola, violoncello, contrabass, 2 percussion


Echo of Self was originally composed in 2005 for the occasion of composer Younghi Pagh-Paan’s 60th birthday, but later revised in 2006.  It is perhaps the gentlest piece I have ever written, focusing on subtle color shifts rather than bold melodic, harmonic, or rhythmic statements.  It makes use of a quarter-tone inflected harmonic field, but the non-pitched sound of the percussion is as important to its structure as the pitches.


In the most basic sense, Echo is a serial work; the piece is based off of a 40-odd note “melody” that each instrument plays, from beginning to end.  There are a few places where one or another instrument goes back a few notes and repeats a short section of the melody, but for the most part all of the instruments play all of the notes in order, at their own changing rates.  Each instrument stops once it has reached the last note of the melody.  Only the contrabass fails to complete the entire series – it doesn’t quite reach the last note.


This recording is from a reading session with the University at Buffalo New Music Ensemble, conducted by James Avery.