Ritual I (2017)
for cello solo, guitar, and 2 percussionists
Written for Jay Campbell and participants of the New Music on the Point Festival
-Performed by Jay Campbell, Devin Sherman, Nick Fox, and Emerson Wahl, New Music on the Point; Leicester, Vermont, June 2017
Ritual I embodies one of five “overcoming” cycles in traditional Chinese wu xing (five element) cosmology; the piece is a kind of abstract ritual accompaniment for the “metal-overcoming-wood” cycle. This transformational cycle is represented most explicitly in the piece’s gradual shift from wooden timbres (col legno tratto, sul tasto) to metallic timbres (scraped tam-tam, sul ponticello). It is also reflected, at a subtler level, in the densification of rhythmic and motific material, an increasing emphasis on open intervals, and an expansion of dynamic range.