Master of Music
Afterimages, for soprano and chamber ensemble, is based on three poems by Carl Nagin. Rather than being a set of three detached pieces, it is a unified work, played from beginning to end without break. The motivation for this kind of organization comes from the poems themselves; they are related in style and imagery, and can be considered as a set. The music seeks to develop and explore the various kinds of connections within the poems. In this sense, Afterimages may be said to be inspired by the structure as well as the content of the poems. The music is based on four related motives. These are the generative devices which both unify and propel the piece. All four are short, and, depending on the context in which they are used, can sound forceful, reflective, introspective or out-reaching. The small number and brevity of the themes help make the piece unified. The instrumentation, however, is used to provide variety. Each of the three poems, plus the introduction and interlude, have different groups of instruments. This avoids sameness and the density that can occur if twelve instruments are constantly playing. The various combinations were chosen not only for their orchestrational potential, but for their relation to the poems and their possibility for illuminating various aspects of them. Afterimages is approximately twenty-one minutes in duration.