Title: Break-Up Year Completed: 1998 Duration: 11 mins Instrumentation: clarinet, violin, cello, piano, marimba Credits: Commissioned by Continuum Contemporary Music with funding provided by the Canada Council for the Arts Premiere: January 12, 1999; University of Toronto, School of Music: Continuum New Music
Break-up was conceived during the spring thaw in Inuvik, Northwest Territories and written during the months when the Mackenzie river ice breaks up in large chunks and flows out to the Beaufort sea; the land becomes alive again and summer returns. Although not programmatic, this work portrays my own feelings of the abrupt awakening of the land from the long dormant winter months. Along with new life there is also the return of the midnight sun and the activity of both humans and wildlife to which it brings – although personally I wish that the mosquitoes and black flies would remain dormant! – 2:00am July 2nd, 1998 with the sun shining bright! Like many works from this period Break-up was highly influenced by the cross-over styles of Steve Martland, Michael Torke, Michael Daugherty and other similar composers and styles. Having grown up playing a lot of jazz it was still a large influence on my thoughts at the time. Jazz and pop influences make their way into this composition. Strong harmonic direction characterizes the form, repetitive figurations and quazi jazz instrumentation permeate the texture.