for chamber orchestra: 1(=picc)111;1111;timp+2perc;pno;str. 13'

Commissioned in 2015 by Carnegie Hall for the American Composers Orchestra and George Manahan. Premiered on 2015 October 23 at Zankel Hall, Carnegie Hall. Projection designs by Paul Lieber.

Now streaming on-demand at Q2 Music.


I. five moods

II. stubborn

III. narcotic

IV. seven moods

Program note

Joint Account is inspired by Baroque theorist Johann Mattheson's 1739 manual of techniques on representing emotions in music. His evocative text includes prescriptions such as “Love is a diffusion of the spirits…it is best to use intervals of that nature.” I have adapted some of his boundaries of affect to my own musical language. The juxtapositions between the moods I’ve selected are both sympathetic and contradictory, defying and strengthening the prevalence of any one feeling.

The video component of this work inverts the customary relationship whereby sound supports or belies the feelings and actions of an image. Here the video instead behaves as an orchestral color, marking and amplifying the musical structure, entering and exiting the textures, to aid or complicate the music’s own emotional objectives.

The first movement presents a sequence of five different moods, increasingly distilled, until their intimate, pushy encounters smear into each other. The second movement explores the life of a single affect, the very defense against emotional complexity. The third movement believes in its wide embrace through constant fluctuation, and yet seems to float in place. The fourth movement weaves the moods from the top into the more extreme limits of the intervening affects.