Caracas Counterpoint (2013-rev. 2018)
For Full Band
Pic. 2 flts., 2 oboes, bsn., 3 cl. B. cl.; 2 alto sx., Tenor sax, Baritone sax., Piano., 3 trumpets in Bb.; 4 hrns., 3 trombones; Tuba., Euphonium., Timpani and 4 percussionists.
In three movements, played without a pause
II. Peces Extraños del Guaire…en cola/
Weird Fishes from the Guaire River…Stuck in Traffic
Caracas Counterpoint was commissioned by the National Flute Orchestra of Venezuela, to whom it is dedicated. The piece is in three movements that are played without a pause, and lasts approximately 16 minutes. The title is an hommage to Steve Reich, who wrote a piece for multiple flutes titled Vermont Counterpoint. I used some of the materials and techniques from that work as inspiration for my piece, but since we are dealing with Caracas Counterpoint, the music has a very different feel, something a little more Caribbean. The influence of pop music can be readily felt throughout this piece.
In the first movement titled Funkoso Sabroso (literally tasty Funk), there are hints of funk music, but the material is put through some Reichian canons. The second movement is titled Weird Fishes from the Guaire River…Stuck in Traffic. This title references two songs by two very different artists. The first is by Venezuelan ska band Desorden Publico, and it is titled Peces del Guaire (Fish from the Guaire river— the main river running through Caracas, which is highly polluted). The second song, titled Weird Fishes/Arpeggi is by Radiohead. Of these two songs, only the one by Radiohead had a real impact on the music in this movement. The slow and sinous nature of the repeated patterns was inspired by Weird Fishes/Arpeggi. While I was working on this movement, its deliberate pace and slowly-unfurling development reminded me of being stuck in traffic (a very common occurrence in traffic-afflicted Caracas), hence the complete title. The last movement, titled Magalenha? Was inspired by the samba song of the same name (although without the “?”). There are certain grooves and feautures that are reminiscent of samba, but the entire movement seems distilled through a completely Venezuelan filter.