The premiere performance of Duality, performed brilliantly by the Ann Arbor Pioneer HS Symphony Band under the direction of David Leach!
It was an absolute thrill and honor to write this piece for my alma mater, not only because I knew I would have the freedom to pull out all the stops for the piece, but because of how near and dear this ensemble is to my heart. I can’t begin to express my gratitude to Mr. Leach and the Symphony Band for their dedication to the piece and the passion, care, and nuance they put into this performance. This whole endeavor was such a dream come true and this concert will be a memory I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.
The concept behind Duality is based on the philosophy of Yin and Yang, which describes how seemingly opposite or conflicting forces often interconnect and complement one another. The piece consists of two unique and contrasting sections which are formed by splitting each musical element into absolute, black and white dichotomies (fast and slow tempos, loud and soft dynamics, etc.). Simplifying and splitting musical elements in this way leads the initial section of the piece to be aggressive and chaotic while the other is calm and reflective. Additionally, the aggressive section of the piece consists primarily of variations of a descending melodic theme and minor harmonic progression, but mirror images of these components are created through inversion and negative harmony and are employed in the latter section of the piece.
These contrasting sections initially function independently, but the opposing elements meet and clash with one another later in the piece which leads to tension and apprehension as the incompatible melodies try to occur simultaneously. The roles of each melodic line seemingly change during this conflict, causing the traditionally chaotic descending melody to be elongated and played over an unstable variation of the formerly calm ascending melody. Through this discordance, the two contradictory forces slowly learn to understand one another and work together, giving rise to a triumphant recapitulation of the calm and reflective melody fused together with energetic material from the initial chaotic section. The piece concludes optimistically, but a final statement of the descending melody implies lingering tension between the two opposing forces.