These five movements are concerned with fascination, compulsion, and, ultimately, obsession. Each “fixation” is an exploration of a single idea, which presents itself at the outset of each movement.
The piece opens with a short motive, repeated throughout with unwavering assertion. This motive then becomes the primary fixation of the piece, making appearances in the second and fifth movements. The music of the first movement also makes its presence felt in the third fixation, “Chants and Echoes,” when the underlying piano chords return as an uninvited interruption. “Digging In,” the fourth fixation, is the only movement which makes no reference to the opening music. Instead, the music focuses on a simple rhythmic pattern without ever breaking from it. The final movement, “One Last Thought...,” finally exhausts its musical preoccupations and turns to a fresh idea, one which is stated and then gone.
The 'Five Fixations' were premiered by the USC Thornton Contemporary Music Ensemble, conducted by Donald Crockett, in the Fall of 2003.
No. 1, “On Pins and Needles,”
USC Thornton Contemporary Music Ensemble
Donald Crockett, conductor
Five Fixations for Eight Players
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