Instrumentation: woodwind quintet
Premiere Performance: 4/7/2005 - Student Composers Concert - Duquesne University - Pittsburgh, PA
I. Darkness Falls
II. Grieving, Remorse, Even Gladness
III. The Nightmare Begins
IV. Misguided Ominous Energy
"Nightscapes" started out as an experiment in writing dodecaphony. It later turned into a four-movement work. The composition explores a deep range of human emotions that is realized in one particular night of dreaming.
Although the twelve-tone technique is a means of ensuring that all twelve notes of the chromatic scale are played without giving preference to one particular pitch obscuring any sense of a tonal center, the use of dodecaphony in Nightscapes mimics that of functional harmony. Combining hexachords from multiple row forms often derives chords. Yet, the tone row chosen as the prime series is presented in its entirety from the onset of the piece in the bassoon. Invariant formations are also the side effect of derived rows from the prime series where a segment of a set remains similar or the same under transformation. These are used as "pivots" between set forms, giving emphasis to certain pitches.
In practice, the "rules" of twelve-tone technique have been bent and broken many times in this work. For instance, in some sections, two or more tone rows may be heard progressing at once. There are also parts of the composition in which permutation devices are used but not on the full chromatic. Given the twelve pitch classes of the chromatic scale, there are infinite pitch combination possibilities despite the fact that many of these are merely transformation of other rows. The dodecaphonic system should only serve as a compositional devise. Artistic expression remains foremost.