Commissioned by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project
Sharpshooter is an expansion of an earlier work, Fantasy for Roberta Liss, scored for viola, percussion, and keyboards. The piece is very direct rhythmically – a constant sixteenth note pulse pervades throughout – but more sustained detuned sonorities gradually take over. My goal in this piece was also to make very slight pitch adjustments within the orchestra in order to achieve an overall detuned shimmer and tinge to the piece. A microtonally altered digital keyboard uses a 19 not-to-the-octave “equal beating minor third” tuning which adds a large amount of just third (6/5, 316 cents) intervals to the texture, which are sometimes matched and echoed in the winds and brass. The harp is asked to detune a few notes, and the percussion plays several almglocken, also slightly out of tune, to finish off the sonic aura I was looking for. The sharp focused ensemble rhythms, pointed attacks achieved through muffled piano and harp strings, string pizzicato, and sharp brass attacks helped to generate the title, Sharpshooter.
BMOP/sound 1032, Rascher Saxophone Quartet, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Gil Rose, conductor
C.F. Peters Corporation
October 4, 2015, Ithaca College Symphony Orchestra, Jeffery Meyer, cond., Ford Hall, Ithaca