The Elements: Period 2, for Large Orchestra
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The Elements: Period 2, for Large Orchestra is a 44-minute-long cycle of eight orchestral "tone images", each one based upon an individual element from the second period of the Periodic Table of Elements: Lithium, Beryllium, Boron, Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Fluorine, and Neon. These tone images are inspired by the physical and chemical properties, uses, etymologies, interactions with biologic systems, and cultural associations of each element. They are intended for performance either individually or together as a set, possibly in combination with the Hydrogen and Helium pieces composed for my master's thesis (Central Washington University, 2006). Rather than taking a serialized approach, where various musical parameters are predetermined by raw data about each element, I sought to use the elements' properties and associations mostly as creative inspiration, more in line with traditional notions of programmatic orchestral music, such as tone poems and programmatic symphonies. Paralleling the fact that my dissertation is inspired by the building blocks of all chemical matter, I have used my personal musical building blocks--my system of over 400 heptatonic modes--in composing these pieces.