Gottschalk, Arthur W.
Doctor of Musical Arts
Impact (2013) is an eight-minute work for full orchestra that explores an aural gesture best described as a heavy thud. This gesture, which opens the work in its clearest form, is a steep drop from the upper register of the orchestra, such as the flutes and triangle, to its depths in instruments such as the basses, contrabassoon, and tuba. Each time the gesture plummets to the bottom, the impact of this arrival generates various “resonances” – shards of harmonic or melodic material that proceed to develop on their own, contributing to subsequent thuds and eventually blooming into more lyrical sections of music. Along the way, the thudding gesture is dissected, reversed, and fragmented before finally regaining its original form and prominence near the end. One giant, swirling thud brings the work to a rumbling close. The work was greatly influenced by my exposure to electronic music techniques, many of which focus on non-traditional aspects such as register, timbre, and abstract shapes and gestures rather than rhythm, melody, and harmony. Also central to the work’s creation was my desire to treat the orchestra as a single, metamorphosing instrument rather than a layering of its distinct parts.
Impact; Orchestra; Halka; Composition