Timepiece (2004)

for large orchestra (2005) – 9 minutes
Orchestration: 3333, 4321, 3 perc, pno, hp, strings


Excerpt 1
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I began writing Timepiece while traveling in the northern provinces of Argentina, in the remote desert regions of Salta and Jujuy. Having grown up in cities, I had never before been so thoroughly isolated from other people, never experienced such desolate peace and quiet, with the perfect silence broken only by the sound of the wind whispering through the needles of the giant cactuses that pepper the landscape, the only obvious living presence I encountered on hours-long drives through the barren and empty terrain. It was a remarkably eerie feeling to suddenly come upon a hillside of thousands of cactuses standing on either side of the road, like so many giant ghosts, watching anyone who should pass. Perfectly still and incredibly slow growing, the cactuses, in relation to the timeless Andean landscape in which they live, are one of the few elements that mark the passage of time.

Timepiece is about this sensation of largeness—of space, of sound, of time— where the silence itself feels so gigantic and imposing that it’s almost a new kind of loud. Here, there is an overwhelming appreciation for the infinite expansiveness of time and the various tempos at which events take place: mountains, cactuses, rivers, each evolving on a different timescale.

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