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Sea-Blue Circuitry

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Mason Bates

Mason Bates


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General Info

Year: 2010
Duration: c. 12:10
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Aphra Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print)- Rental   |   Score Only (print) - $65.00


Movements (played without pause)

1. Circuits
2. Marine Snow
3. Gigawatt Greyhound


Instrumentation

Full Score
Flute I-II-III-IV (I-II double piccolo)
Oboe I-II (II doubles English Horn)
Bassoon I-II
Contra-Bassoon
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III-IV
B-flat Bass Clarinet I-II
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
C Trumpet I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
Euphonium
Tuba
String Bass
Piano (with minor preparation)
Harp
Timpani
Percussion I-II-III-IV

(percussion detail needed)


Errata

None discovered thus far.


Program Notes

Commissioned by the University of Miami Frost School of Music, Michigan State University Wind Symphony, Columbus State University Wind Ensemble, and Texas Christian University Wind Symphony.

- Program Note from score


The grooves of Sea-Blue Circuitry hiccup from measure to measure as rapidly as data quietly flashing on the silicon innards of a computer, yet the piece is entirely unplugged.  While some of my recent works fuse orchestral textures and electronica, this piece explores ways of recreating the precision of electronica through the instruments alone.

Breathy flute interjections, chirping trumpets, and even an old typewriter bring to life the quicksilver music of the opening Silicon Blues. The morphing beat, at the movement’s climax, begins to lengthen persistently, and by the time we enter Marine Snow, a pulsing prepared-piano figure becomes a distant, out-of-tune gong. In the deep ocean, marine snow is a continuous shower of organic detritus — primarily made up of dead and dying animals — that falls for weeks before reaching the ocean floor. Conjured by shimmering textures in the upper winds, this suspended animation (a nod to the Floridian element of the premiere) serves as the quiet backdrop for the melody that unfolds in the brass. Changing color at almost every cadence, it floats over the haze, eventually being taken up by the rest of the ensemble.

As the marine snow drifts lower, the gentle pulse returns with growing insistence. The prepared low-end of the piano finally presents itself in Greyhound, a mad dash across bumpy terrain. The piano’s muffled thuds are a subsonic reincarnation of the work’s opening mechanistic element. By the work’s end, we return to a clunkier version of the silicon-based world that began the piece — like an old-fashioned mainframe computer doing a lopsided dance.

- Program Note by composer


Commercial Discography

None discovered thus far.


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


Performances

To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • California State University, Stanislaus, Wind Ensemble (Stuart Sims, conductor) – 17 October 2019
  • Michigan State University (East Lansing) Wind Symphony (Kevin Sedatole, conductor) – 26 April 2018
  • United States Coast Guard Band (New London, Conn.) (Richard Wyman, conductor) – 15 April 2018
  • State University of New York at Fredonia Wind Ensemble (Paula Holcomb, conductor) – 22 April 2017
  • University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) Concert Band (J. Nick Smith, conductor) – 5 December 2016
  • University of Miami (Fla.) Frost Wind Ensemble (Gary Green, conductor) – March 2011 (2011 CBDNA Conference, Seattle) *Premiere Performance*


Works for Winds by this Composer


Resources

  • Bates, M. (2011/2013). Sea-Blue Circuitry: For Wind Ensemble (2010) [score]. Aphra Music: New York.
  • Trachsel, Andrew. "Sea-Blue Circuitry." In Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 9, edit. & comp. by Richard Miles, 764-780. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2013.