Beatlings [Cello Club]
Instrumentation: Cello, Fixed Media
Beatling [photo by Samuel Goldstein _sjg_]

In every seed lives the potential for greatness. One seed produces food that feeds a family. Another seed becomes a mighty tree, giving shade and shelter. Another seed grows a single blade of grass, providing food for insects and strength for soil. Seeds are powerful and important. We use the idea of a seed as a metaphor for potential greatness: ideas are seeds, experiences are seeds, new relationships are seeds, even financial investment (so-called seed money) is understood in this way.

On my right forearm is a tattoo of a tomato plant. This is a intentional reminder of the power of a seed. They are small and can seem insignificant. Once planted and cared for they germinate, becoming seedlings. More time and careful attention transforms the seedling into a plant. Every year I experience this literally: I grow tomatoes in pots on my roof. Each tomato plant is capable of yielding a tremendous amount of fruit—upwards of 375 tomatoes per plant for one variety. Each little tomato contains dozens of seeds, more potential plants, more potential abundance. My tattoo is a permanent reminder of both literal and metaphorical seeds; each contains power. Everything in life—ideas, habits, relationships—begins as a metaphorical seed, germinates to a seedling, and, if cared for, grows into a plant capable of nourishing the caregiver and generating further seeds.

Beatlings, composed for cellist Craig Hultgren, approaches the construction of a composition using the metaphor of the seed. It begins small and delicate, then grows and transforms before our ears. The music is the result of seeds planted in my own life. The idea did not emerge from a vacuum, it grew in the soil of my mind from a long forgotten seed, planted, perhaps, by other music I heard, or some conversation I had. The opportunity to collaborate with Craig likewise is not something that appeared from nowhere; the seeds of, and care for, several important relationships produced this seedling of collaboration. It will grow and to bear it's own fruit, carriers of new seeds.

Beatlings is the fourth composition in a series that I'm writing for solo instrument and electronic dance tracks. These follow in the long tradition of composers expanding vernacular dance forms into concert music. Beatlings draws its inspiration from a style known as minimal techno. Previous compositions in the series were for flute, clarinet, and drum set.


Performance History

2017 Birmingham New Music Festival || 2017.10.12, 7:30 pm
NYCello || 2017.03.08, 6:00 pm
Soft Series no.2 - Farmer Cellist || 2016.03.04, 8:00 pm
Works Category: Electro-acoustic, Chamber