Ruhe (2005 / rev. 2008)
Premiered at Yale University, March 2006, by Anna Pelczer, viola, and James Deitz, percussion
Ruhe can be heard as a series of subtly differentiated musical regions, articulated by the viola's shifting harmonies as well as by the long, circuitous line traced by the percussion from its lowest (tam-tam) to highest (crotale) sounds.
The work periodically makes oblique reference to a seven-note phrase from the fourth of Anton Webern's Fünf Sätze for string quartet, Op. 5, first presented in a somewhat recognizable manner, and gradually made more indistinct as it is digested into the fabric of the music. I feel that an important subtext of this piece is the transformation of musical affect, from the expressionism of Webern's original to something far more contemplative, even serene, in character.