ae57—Drift-for Oboe and Strings
from 17.00

Drift was written as a type of experiment with shape and form. I wanted to see if I could better ‘suspend’ time and, in doing so, create a strange unfettered motion that once moves and seems to stay still.

I remembered very vividly my summers, those hot summers, where, as a boy I would lie on the cool grass under the shade of a lumbering Sycamore tree and watch the huge brilliantly white clouds move so very slowly across the sea blue sky. As they moved they not only changed position, but also ever so slowly their shape. This became a very beautiful activity for me as I lay alone with my thoughts staring at this wondrous expanse of summer lovliness.

As I began work on this piece the whole notion of meter and rhythm became quite challenging as did the idea of harmonic rhythm. All of these things so bear on the shape and form of music that, when they are suspended, one can seem to almost lose control of the flow. The trick for me was to slow into this new time world where drama is not a player and things slowly morph and unfold. I would hope too that the audience can similarly fall into this world where time almost stands still and all that remains is the beautiful sounds of stillness hanging in the air.

My deep thanks to Awadagin Pratt, conductor of WIRED string ensemble for premiering the piece and hearty thanks also to the artistry of Dwight Parry and his numerous and subtle suggestions that helped so much to refine the solo line.

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Douglas Knehans
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