SHATTERED GLASS


Written for and dedicated to MOSAIC
Premiere:  MOSAIC, Cleveland State University, OH, April 13, 2008
Duration:  13 minutes
Instrumentation: flute (alto fl.), cello, percussion, piano

PROGRAM NOTES

Shattered Glass is like a musical kaleidoscope.  Instead of seeing the constantly changing colors as you do in a kaleidoscope, you hear them.  There are two contrasting yet related sound worlds.  A soft but brittle atmosphere with sharp stabs of piercing sound that sometimes builds to wild cacophonous moments, and soft, blurred, mysterious sections that still have tiny intrusions of bright, pointed stabs of sound.  The brittle and blurred timbres eventually mix and overlap becoming sometimes rhythmic, sometimes raucous, and sometimes mysterious and melodic.  There are solos for each instrumentalist throughout the work culminating in short, rhapsodic, cadenza-like flourishes for each. Shattered Glass was written for and is dedicated to MOSAIC.

REVIEWS

“Shattered Glass (2007) is a colorful, percussion effects-laden work with a playful yet menacing character. Scored for a chamber ensemble of just four players (flute, cello, piano and percussion), the music sounds outsized for its modest instrumental forces. That's largely due to the busy percussionist's role: a half-dozen or more different instruments are employed to achieve an array of percussion effects, from bell-like sonorities to popping or clicking sounds from wood blocks. Not that the other players aren't stretching the sonic world of their individual instruments here – they are too, with shrieks and gasps and thuds and much else. In the end, this piece exhibits a style that mixes many elements, and while one could describe its eclectic character in numerous ways, it calls to mind a sort of space-age Bartók. No, the work is not imitative of Bartók, but certain passages seem vaguely reminiscent of the First Piano Concerto and the Concerto for Two Pianos and Percussion. Also, the slower and softer sections achieve a kind of "night music" mood, not unlike some of Bartók's so-called night music. Similarities are probably just coincidental. At any rate, the work is much fun and the performance by the Blue Streak Ensemble is very good.”       – Robert Cummings, Classical Net, 2014


"Little tinkles of percussion soon joined by drums and piano open before the flute and cello join in this fast moving, glittering piece. The piano is often used percussively along with the percussion instruments, thereby adding sharp details of sound. A falling motif for cello and piano leads the music forward to a melodic flute solo, joined by piano, then percussion and creating a distinctive atmosphere. The cello weaves a strange motif before the music picks up again, with a joyful feel, rhythmic and colourful. Soon there is a shimmering, quiet section that leads to a piano solo, with a motif quietly picked out. When a hushed section appears it is strange territory with odd percussion, piano and cello sounds. The flute enters over these strange sounds. Staccato rhythms for flute and cello and a rising piano motif lead the music faster to a percussion passage before the instruments share the dynamic material around and the music moves to its assertive coda. This is an incredible tapestry of sounds from (Blue Streak) ensemble that do the utmost justice to this piece." - Bruce Reader, The Classical Reviewer, 2014


"Shattered Glass" (for flute, cello, percussion, and piano) is a distinctly painful piece, a fact which becomes quite clear after a reading of this release’s liner notes.  The (Blue Streak) ensemble playing here is tight and thoughtful, with each player coming to the fore and fading into the background at just the right moments.  This is 13-minutes of engaging introspection..." - Seth Tompkins, Second Inversion, Naxos CD review, June 2014


"'Shattered Glass' (twelve and a half minutes), which the composer describes in terms of constantly changing colors – which one hears, has what Brouwer calls "two contrasting yet related sound worlds…" from "a soft but brittle atmosphere with sharp stabs of piercing sound that sometimes builds to wild cacophonous moments, and soft, blurred mysterious sections." The percussion is exciting and a flute solo is particularly appealing."  - James Tobin, Classical Net Review, 2014