For SATB Chorus and Piano
This piece, particularly the text, came about in an interesting way. While at Eastman waiting for a coaching, I found myself with nothing to do. Therefore, I decided to write my friend Andy a poem. Rather than having a particular subject matter or message in mind, I decided to simply choose aesthetically pleasing phrases. While meaning can certainly be read into them, there was little if any actually intended. I know that my friend Turi was vaguely in mind as I crafted the lines, but they are truly meant to stand on their own independent of intense scrutiny – no matter what your English teachers may claim.
The text was set in a similar fashion. Different stanzas had wildly different feels to them as I studied the poem and I couldn’t conceive of a way to set them all in a single style. After having set the first stanza (the refrain, if you will), I noticed it consisted of a number of disjunct ideas. Each of these ideas is then more fully developed later in the piece, providing a certain sense of continuity and coherence throughout. The opening stanza then returns at the end to come full circle.
“Place Me On Your Whirling, Gentle Ride” clearly demonstrates my sense of “fluid tonality” – while I incorporate tonal structures, many are used in unexpected ways, flowing smoothly from one to the next, if in a not-quite-functional way.