Suspensions (1992, rev. 2014) for chamber orchestra playfully explores a variety of opposing musical ideas. As the work progresses, contrasting musical elements are added one by one to the composite texture. For example, fast woodwind passages are added to the long lyric duets that emerge from the introductory measures of the work. Similarly, several types of percussive articulations and improvisatory gestures appear throughout Suspensions. The title alludes to the short, lyric duets that are present throughout the composition. These duets create a sense of suspended animation relative to the otherwise active musical ideas. Furthermore, these duets contain a number of structures which refer to traditional musical suspensions—a dissonance in which a note is suspended while the harmony changes, thus sounding as if it needs to resolve with stepwise motion to a consonant note. Suspensions plays with the listener's expectations by providing a number of diverse resolutions for these “dissonant” structures. This composition also explores the timbrel possibilities of the orchestra by implementing a wide variety of extended instrumental techniques.
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