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<italic>Tentative Embrace</italic> is a composition in five movements for flute, clarinet, saxophone quartet, vibraphone, piano, string quartet and tape track. The tape track features spoken text and soundscape recordings gathered in and around the Sonoran desert of the Southwestern United States. The text and the soundscape recordings, along with the composed music, are all my own work.
This piece embodies my efforts to interpret and translate the complicated sensation of being a human alone in nature - of wanting to belong, realizing I do belong, but also not quite belonging. The Sonoran desert, the site of inspiration for this work, is an especially revelatory space that heightens these simultaneous sensations of connection and disconnection; it draws attention to the biological points of contact between human beings and their natural surroundings, but it also emphasizes those cultural and material differences that we carry with us into such a space. Through the combination of the music, the text and the soundscapes, I work to convey the ever-shifting boundaries between the self and everything else.
For the music, I find formal inspiration in the slow and cyclical pace of the desert itself; musical ideas unfold gradually through ever-varying repetitions. Each movement is devoted to a particular phenomenon experienced in the desert, and while the text and the soundscapes work to articulate the specifics of these phenomena, the music gives form to their structural and sensual suggestion. I move back and forth between specifics and abstractions; as such, some of my translations of this space will be more audible than others, but each of them demonstrate this attempt at forging an artistic point of connection with this environment.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Rights for Collection: Duke Dissertations