31. Redwood, 11.07

Redwood (composed December 2013) is a powerful, large-scale orchestral work that speaks a language relatively free of tonal references. The opening is fluid, shifting from solid and emphatic, declamatory statements that become interrupted and spin into ever-growing tensions and release. The style bypasses recent trends and seeks its roots in the central European manner of two generations back.

Composed while a new resident of California, the iconic tree lends its eponymous power to the troubled lyricism of Berg and Schoenberg yet with a more individualized tendency toward rollicking forward movement and a unique impressionistic harmonic palette.

Pulse is maintained yet is intermittently thrown off course by subtle changes of meter and phrase length. Displaying many finely crafted features and moments of quite alluring music, the trunk of the music is played in a torrent of fury and heavy-handed, dense, low chords. The orchestration flatters the instruments, exploits its pleasures and bathes in its most attractive qualities: limpid pools of clear harmony that form from a yearning chromatic progression. Yet in the more hard-bitten temperaments, tangle energy and darting motion is thoughtfully prepared and carefully to allow for maximum clarity and attention to lines.