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 Original Music 2013

Empathy's Advent

  Elegy| Empathy’s Advent

4 minutes 45 seconds| In Memory of My Parents: JoAnn Spears Teague (1938-2013) and Dennis Lee Teague (1938-2010). The image, titled Empathy, is supplied by the visionary Nineteenth century Russian symbolist painter, Nicholas Roerich.

Elegy begins with a common practice of mine when composing for ensemble strings. I use a lower velocity setting on the individual notes and hold them through chord shifts, hence creating two types of mild dissonance: a thready texture for the notes (owing to Stravinsky’s and Bartok’s influence); and the creation of overlapping polychords. These combined effects are both unsettling and oddly beautiful, with the latter enhancement perhaps showing the influence of Mahler. Empathy includes a passage where clarinet, marimba, and timpani create a brief rush of atonality before the pretty piano tune returns.

Either due to my ineptitude as a composer, or attraction to asymmetry, the pretty tune appears to follow one time signature while the accompanying bass line is somewhat slower in getting to the same place. This effect is also heard in my first Garageband composition, Provocateur, where drums and strings travel parallel at different speeds in the middle section.

I also have a habit of delaying cadences and interval resolutions in melodic lines. Examples that come to mine are Toner Depletion and Rare Paycheck.

The time stamp for creation is 11/25/13, which is apropos since Thanksgiving was my mother’s favorite holiday. My last written correspondence with her mentioned my impending return home for Thanksgiving in 2013. It was only in gathering start dates for all these compositions in 2018 that I realized this connection. It perhaps did not dawn on me at the time because I was busy making holiday meal preparations with my girlfriend and so made only a modest beginning of the Elegy that day. Indeed, the dedication for these pieces did not come until after both segments were completed.

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