Be still in haste.
Merseal, Hannah M.
Undergraduate research. , Undergraduate thesis.
The composition of this piece primarily took place in spare hours, squeezed in during a period of great personal change and reflection. It was inspired heavily by Wendell Berry's poem , which evokes the sign of the moment, settling into one's environment, observing the world rush by, then continuing on. The poem's quiet way of stretching and compressing time appealed to me greatly as a researcher studying time in music and how our brains track beat and meter. In composing this piece, I took a minimalist approach to manipulating time by featuring irregular phrase lengths and literal sighs layered over a slow, steady cello ostinato. This segues into a faster middle section comprised of human sounds such as clapping, stomping, and shouts, which create a variety of composite rhythms. Finally, the end of the piece falls into a slow, stilted dance. The overlying clarinet and flute duet took shape later on in the compositional process- this piece was intended to be written for voice duet and orchestra but evolved over time as I explored different timbral combinations.
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Wheaton College (MA)