Kris Peysen      Composer

This is what I consider to be my first “real” piece. I had written quite a few smaller projects and pieces during my first couple of years at UNT, but nothing I’d really feel comfortable sharing with the general public. This, however, marked my “maturing” point where I could write a piece that functioned on multiple levels, and also an opportunity for me to stretch out a bit (it’s 11 minutes) and deal with some larger formal patterns. After I finished it, I was fortunate enough to win first prize in the Voices of Change Young Composers Project, which included a cash prize and, more importantly, a performance by a professional ensemble.  For a long time this was the best performance of a piece of mine.

As for the rather unique ensemble I chose for this piece, there wasn’t anything in particular that brought it about. I started with an idea in my head that appears halfway through the piece – it came virtually “pre-formed,” and those were the instruments I was hearing in my head. So I went with that. (If you’re curious, it’s the flute melody and surrounding accompaniment that begins in section F.) Although at the time I strongly preferred the sound of heterogeneous ensembles, so it’s not too surprising I came up with an ensemble like this.

This was also my “rhythmic breakout” piece. It was at this point in my development that I firmly realized that everything was reducible to two's and three's. Once you realize that, it becomes a simple matter of rearranging them into varying groups however you wish. And that’s exactly what I did. I had fun with it. In order to fully demonstrate my changing meters, I did the most basic thing imaginable – fill them in with eighth notes. This is definitely my most “mechanical” piece in that regard. But the constant shifts, motivic developments, and changes in color help keep the piece interesting, I think.

I have since moved further in my rhythmic language. I’ve moved further in a lot of ways. But I still like this piece. In particular, there is a certain...playfullness in the music which I find arresting, an element that is noticeably absent in my later works. Perhaps I will revisit that quality in some future piece. 


​April 2015

Performances:

​April 21, 2010: University of North Texas

March 2, 2008: Southern Methodist University, performed by the Voices of Change New Music Ensemble

Pagan Dance

For flute, oboe, clarinet, violin, viola, and marimba 4-hands