California 1 (composed May 2014) is an orchestral work of unquestionable success. It is a music of accessible, exquisitely crafted and emotionally charged drama that is minimalist to its core. An inspiring collection of dazzling pyrotechnics abound, with an American voice that is redolent in its antecedents but embracing in its elevated expressionisms. Chugging leitmotifs are repeatedly developed, long-awaited and coalesce into fractured, busy unsettling waves of engaging materials that are aligned and executed with illuminating vivacity.
Its phrases are immediate, original and aching with impassioned narratives that resonant and are eminently musical. The score proudly, unashamedly roots itself in dramatic flair of free-range tonality vibrating with palettes of color and power. Flourishing impressionism mixed with bittersweet glue serves as a functionality to pathos and with that establish time and mood, with unapologetic dissonance into a sensational, satisfying, distinctive work powerfully unified the piece with brilliant command. Its narrative uses conventional orchestra, in sounds that speak in uncommonly piercing ways. Abrupt rhythms convey a modernist approach and sharp gestural rises and falls that evoke a large-scale and powerful emotion that is the strength of its West Coast flavored writing, firmly rooted in its deepest, forceful feelings.
A nod to the first major orchestral work written after moving to California, it is an impressively soaring work. Vibrant in its rhythmic figures, it deploys a vocabulary of uninhibited lyricism that stands out with pristine clarity and flatters, rather than abuses, the forefront of the lyrical scene. The piece distills an inherent power in its ominously taut, punctuated writing, with an expressive edge poured into its finest and most intense music written to date.