Hell-Bent

Hell-Bent (2006) 9′
for violin, cello and piano
WINNER of the 2008 Lee Ettelson Composers Award (Composers Inc.)
WINNER of a 2007 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award
recorded by the New Pacific Trio. Additional performances by New Millennium Ensemble.

On every level—from the tiny gesture that permeates the piece, to the large-scale structure—Hell-Bent is a series of intense crests, with each hurdle seeming larger and more daunting than the last.

Initially, I approached the piece from an abstract perspective, thinking it would be a fun compositional project to work with a musical idea that is incapable of being static, that is—like a black hole—always racing toward its own demise as it increases in energy and contracts towards singularity. It became clear fairly quickly, however, that the piece was much more autobiographical than it was about an abstract idea, and that my urge to write something with so much urgency and unease likely had something to do with my going through the frazzling and nerve-wracking process of applying to grad school at the same time. Finishing the piece well before I knew the outcome and could hope to write a happy ending, the music never resolves itself; instead, after a brief respite, it goes through one more large crest, and vanishes.