Commission: Virginia Commisison for the Arts
Premiere: University Rockbridge Symphony Orchestra, Lexington, VA
Duration: 3 minutes
Instrumentation: 2222; 2000; 1 perc., strings
The form of Skattle, was inspired by James Gleick’s description in his book “Chaos” of a computer-based experiment to find three possible solutions to an equation. A different color was given to each solution. Exploring the graphic space of the solutions in finest detail revealed that, “ a boundary between two colors never quite forms. Instead of a neat ridge between the blue and red valleys, for example, he saw blotches of green, strung together like jewels. It was as if a marble, caught between the conflicting tugs of two nearby valleys, would end up in the third and most distant valley instead. On even closer inspection the line between a green blotch and the blue valley proved to have patches of red… Wherever two colors try to come together, the third always inserts itself, with a series of new, self-similar intrusions. Impossibly, every boundary point borders a region of each of the three colors.” I found this colorful idea extremely appealing and conducive to the construction of musical forms in general, and in this case, light and humorous. Simply put, the three elements, which are representative of the three colors in this movement, are percussion solos, orchestral chords and instrumental solos.