The five movements of Five Modular Movements are designed to be performed in any order. The first to be written was ’16, which was composed to celebrate the inauguration of SUNY Potsdam’s sixteenth President, Dr. Kristen Esterberg; this occurred shortly before the school’s bicentennial in 2016 - hence the title. Some bits of Indiana Rag, however, were written much earlier than this, as I used as source material an aborted brass quintet I wrote while a graduate student in Indiana the early 1990’s. There is no musical connection to Indiana, and, frankly, it’s not really a rag either, but it needed a title. I would refer to the melancholy Aire, based on a movement of another work of mine for violin and piano, as “bitonal Baroque.” Tenebroso borrows loosely (and lovingly) from the two most agitated movements (III and V) from Berg’s Lyric Suite. Messages, the last movement to be written, pays homage to one of my teachers, Frederick Fox, and his brass quintet Time Messages. In the last movement of that work, Fox intersperses solos by the lower three instruments and a trumpet duet with ensemble passages. In Messages, I do the same, albeit but with briefer solos.
On deciding the order of the movements:
The five movements of this piece are designed to be played in any order, and the selection of the order can be done in a variety of ways. It is up to the performers to decide on how this order will be determined, but it should be done using some element of chance, and it is best if the players do not know the order until right before the performance. Audience involvement is encouraged in making this decision. The score contains additional information and suggestions.
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