Divergent Trajectories

Click image to view perusal score

Click image to view perusal score


Recorded in July 2017 by the Composers Conference Ensemble (Barry Crawford, flute; Benjamin Fingland, clarinets; Gabriela Diaz, violin; Joshua Gordon, violoncello; Steve Beck, piano; and James Baker, conductor).


Instrumentation: flute, clarinet (bass clarinet), violin, violoncello, piano
Date: 2017
Premiere: 26 July 2017 | Composers Conference, Wellesley, MA | Conference Ensemble (James Baker, conductor)
Duration: approx. 10’30”
Score details: 59 pages , including performance instructions; letter (8.5 in x 11 in) landscape

Program Notes

Divergent Trajectories presents a struggle between two opposing manifestations of individualism. The first section of the work takes the form of a process fugue—a kind of operation-based musical texture in which each voice works independently to execute a prescribed series of tasks that, in the case of this work, ultimately transform the means by which pitch material is generated. In this system, individualism is based on the autonomy with which each member goes about discharging their assigned duties. It gradually becomes apparent, however, that this form of individualism is based on a fundamental flaw, as the freedom with which each member can express their individuality is eclipsed by the rigidity that the texture demands.

The latter section of the work presents an alternative approach, one that is marked by struggle, but ultimately arrives at collective triumph. Here, each instrument’s individual freedom is intrinsically connected to the expressive freedom of the ensemble as a whole. As the collective creative power of the ensemble grows, so too does the freedom of each instrument to express their individuality by staking their own unique path through the music. The result is a transcendent collectivism that, instead of suppressing individual freedom, sublates it.

Performance history

26 July 2017 | Composers Conference, Wellesley, MA | Conference Ensemble (James Baker, conductor)