downside-up for Clarinet and String Quartet (2009) - 5'

for Jonathan Hoffmann

Premiere: April 4, 2009 - Pitts/Hoffmann Honors Recital 
Emory University
Schwartz Center for Performing Arts 
Jonathan Hoffmann, Clarinet
The Vega String Quartet

Program Notes:

Today, optimism is one of the few human attributes that prevails in the midst of a world full of bad news.  I have learned that if I try to find the positive among all of the negatives, I have a greater sense of fulfillment. These enthusiastic ideas permeate my musical writings.

downside-up was written as a musical outcry of "positivity."  It opens with the clarinet presenting the principal melodic figure while the strings introduce the basic harmonic pattern found throughout the piece.  After the brief introduction, the strings begin the canonic propulsion to the first melody.  From here, the driving rhythm and harmonic structure work in tandem to create a constant sense of forward motion and pulse.  Though the hierarchy of harmony, rhythm, and melody constantly alters throughout each section, they all eventually unite in the climax and final push to the end.

downside-up was written for and dedicated to Jonathan Hoffmann.  There are few people in my college career who have motivated me as a musician as much as he has.  I am astounded by his intellect, his talent, and his dedication to pushing himself and others to be their best.  I am grateful that we were able to collaborate on so many occasions.  I hope there are many more to come.

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