Yonah's Dream (2008)
Instrumentation: Flute, Crychord, Surrogate Kithara, Diamond Marimba, Bamboo Marimba, Bass Marimba, and Spoils of War
Commission: Commissioned by the Harry Partch Institute at Montclair State University
Notes: Yonah’s Dream was commissioned by the Harry Partch Institute at Montclair State University, directed by my good friend Dean Drummond, and written for the MSU Harry Partch Ensemble featuring the amazing flute soloist Stefani Starin. Although I have written many works that use alternate tunings, I have never used the Partch pitch system or written for the Partch instruments, so this was a significant challenge for me. I decided to blend my own intuitions about pitch with the forty-three note system of Partch and came up with a “dirty” hybrid approach, something I do often. I knew I wanted the piece to be pulsing, gritty, energetic, and fun for the ensemble, yet serious and contemplative at the same time. I therefore drew from an experience I had at my nephew’s wedding. At this event a Klezmer band played at a fiery pace for hours as the wedding couple, family, and friends danced wildly, completely uninhibited, for hours and hours on end, until exhaustion set in. The event had its more serious moments as well, but it was the energy and sense of abandon that made the biggest impression. The thought of Harry Partch wandering in uninvited and participating in the mayhem, was an amusing passing thought. It is in this spirit that I wrote this piece. The work is dedicated to Dean Drummond, and is in honor of my nephew, Yonah Heidings.
Recordings: New World Records 80736-2, Newband
Availability: Plurabelle Music Publishing (Harry Partch Institute Music Library)
World Premiere: December 13, 2008, MSU Harry Partch Ensemble, Dean Drummond, conductor, Kasser Theater, Montclair, NJ
March 19, 2011, Newband, Dean Drummond, conductor, New Hazlett Theater, Pittsburgh
September 20, 2012, Newband, Jordan Hall, Boston.
November 7, 2012, Newband, University of Washington, Seattle