Instrumentation: orchestra (1+picc, 2d1, 1+bass, 1+contra, 4, 3, 3, 1, timp, 3perc, egtr, bgtr, str) OR (1+picc, 2d1, 1+bass, 1+contra, 4, 3, 3, 1, timp, 3perc, pno, str)
Duration: 7 minutes
New England Conservatory Orchestra, Reading Session April 27, 2007.
Strange Bedfellows exists in two versions, one for orchestra with a rock trio of electric guitar, electric bass, and drums, and another scored for traditional orchestral forces (still including the drum set as part of the percussion section). This piece was written as a response to my own conflicted feelings about the orchestra as an institution in contemporary American society. I grew up playing in youth and civic orchestras and absolutely loved playing all of the glorious music of the classical tradition. On the other hand, as a composer, I am primarily inspired by rock, hip-hop, electronic music, and contemporary chamber music that draws on these traditions. I continually return to the orchestra however, to attempt to somehow reconcile these opposing interests. I wrote Strange Bedfellows in 2007 near the end of my Master’s studies at New England Conservatory, and the piece presents two extremely different types of music. The first, heavily influenced by rock and classic action film scores, and the second inspired by Wagner and 19th century Romantic music in general. I somewhat pessimistically present these two styles of music and make absolutely no attempt to unify them. This was also meant as a youthful rebuke to the classical and modernist maxim that upheld compositional unity as a virtue above all others. Rather than creating a dialectic in which the two opposing forces achieve some kind of meaningful dialogue (as my teachers probably would have wanted), I just allow the two disparate ideas to sit there stubbornly without resolution.