mortgage (2018)

for percussion trio

mortgage was written in the summer of 2017 and is loosely based on the poem Optioned by Heather Christle. Her poem uses simple humor, sly shifts in perspective, and profoundly static restraint to build a non-narrative, quasi-magical world that illustrates the stricture of an individual’s economic circumstances. Using her techniques as a guide, I built cells of material from the most basic elements, separating and recreating physicality from sonic result. Each of the four movements upends the parameters for this material based on content in the corresponding stanza. These objects, musical and non-musical, float through an almost pedantic structure, the performers working as individuals in space to build a strange, inevitable world. The use of a chair itself comes from the poem’s intrigue with domesticity, and the line “what does a house do?” but here, we ask: “what does a chair do?”

The piece was commissioned by Tyler Cunningham, and premiered by him, Taylor Hampton, and Evan Saddler.