Grrrr (2010-11; rev. 2018)
for Bass Trombone and Percussion
Premiere: Riley Leitch and Ethan Martin, Chicago, May 2018
Commissioned by Nuno Martins
Surrealism never fully found a home in music. Perhaps the medium is just too abstract to nurture the manifold associations that great surrealist art conjures (the writings of Breton, the films of Buñuel, the paintings by Miró or Tanguy, for example). Maybe music lacks enough of the “real” to ever be honestly surreal. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t explore the intersections of music and surrealism to force ourselves into new and provocative creative situations.
The title of the work is a sort of onomatopoeic pre-word (thinking in English - is it “growl” or “granite” or “gruesome”, etc.?) pays homage to the Bretonian origins of literary movement and at the same time references one of the most formidable composers to wrestle with surrealism, Mauricio Kagel (by way of his own work, “Rrrrrrr…”).