Cascarones Program Notes

I composed
Cascarones while studying the score of Ave Maris Stella (1975) by Peter Maxwell Davies. As I examined the work, which was composed using a plainchant melody and the 9x9 magic square of the moon, I began to develop my own theories of how the chant and square could be used to generate musical materials such as form, pitch, rhythm, and harmonies. While some of my theories and experimental paths through the square were quite similar to particular moments in the Davies score, it was the remaining, unused ideas that really intrigued me and thus inspired me to compose a work with the leftover materials.

In this piece, I use the popular Mexican folk tune
De Colores as inspiration for my pitch material. While fragments of the melody do appear scattered though out the composition, it is not my intention for the listener to recognize or identify such moments. For this work, I also chose to use the 9x9 magic square of the moon, which, like a Cascarón (an eggshell filled with brightly colored confetti), serves as my framework or “shell” for the colorful folkloric pitch materials used within.

Fixed media component realized in the University of Illinois Experimental Music Studios.

Cascarones was premiered September 28, 2011 in the Tryon Festival Theater of the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts by the University of Illinois New Music Ensemble.

Below is a link to the video of the September 28, 2011 performance as well as a mixing board recording.