E Pluribus (2017)

E Pluribus was written between late 2016 and late 2017 and premiered December, 2017 at Indiana University, professor David Dzubay conducting the IU Jacobs Concert Orchestra.

The piece grew out of an idea I had while listening to Charles Ives’s “The Unanswered Question.” The static G major chord at the beginning of this piece was in my ear and I kept hearing it emerge from a dense cluster. To “test” this sound I took various recordings of “The Unanswered Question” and cross faded them with static, other loud music, and even the opening few minutes of Xenakis’s “Metastasis.” Once I had a grasp of the balance between the two sound masses I set to writing the piece.

Thanks for listening.

Curtis Smith

Program Notes (short)

This piece is about the individual and the collective, and is inspired by democracy. There are two main characters—the ocean of sound, represented most prominently by the strings—especially at the beginning and end, and a tonal chord progression that emerges gradually from the dense cluster at the beginning of the piece. The sublimation of the tonal progression into the cluster and the cluster’s interaction with the tonal progression propel the piece, delineate structure, and act as a type of embodiment for the societal shifts and interactions experienced in a democracy.

(click here for full program notes)
(click here for full instrumentation and seating)

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