Grisaille (2015) 9'


commissioned by Alarm Will Sound for the 2015 Mizzou International Composers Festival


>score excerpt

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Program Notes

Grisaille is a monochromatic painting technique that uses thin, transparent washes of gray paint to establish shape and shadow. Often times, this technique is used as a sketch or base layer for an oil painting, wherein translucent oil paints are layered over the gray underpainting.

This particular technique of tracing and layering is mirrored in the construction of my piece: the work is largely based on three sections in which a single instrument's sound is projected, traced, and/or augmented by the ensemble. The focal point of the first section is the bass flute's airy, resonant sound. At times, the bass flute's sound becomes completely absorbed and lost in the ensemble's reflection, at other times, it is subjected to delayed alterations. The second section is based on the tam-tam, highlighted by a monolithic, continuous scrape that is supported and colored by the ensemble. In the final section, a sparse piano solo is shaded with a slow, ethereal gauze.

In a way, this piece is like navigating an unfinished painting: a journey through ambiguous, rough foregrounds of white noise that fluctuate in and out of meticulously painted patches of lustrous, highly detailed harmonic fields.

Performance History

World Premiere
15.07.25 | Mizzou International Composers Festival | Columbia, MO
Alarm Will Sound