Unintended Consequence

Unintended Consequence for percussion ensemble
Publisher: C. Alan Publications (2021)
Composed: 2019
Duration: 9’15”
Difficulty: Medium-Difficult
Instrumentation (10 players): bells, chimes, crotales, vibraphone (2), 4.3-octave marimba, 5.0-octave marimba, timpani (4), concert toms (4), china cymbal, hi-hat, snare drum, impact drum, triangle, shaker, brake drum, tam-tam

Unintended Consequence starts with a simple, four-note motive — B, D, E, F — repeated several times before extending to a fifth pitch, a return to B. This motive fails to clarify any specific intent or resolution and thus lays the foundation for this work that explores multiple tangents, or “consequences,” that can be derived from the ambiguous but aggressive opening. A hint at one of these tangents appears just 15 measures into the piece, as the key shifts suddenly to C minor (or perhaps E-flat major). After only flirting attempts at melodic material, the ostinato gives way shortly to a return to the opening ensemble figures. Taking a different turn as to where that simple motive might lead, the ensemble fades suddenly into a haunting melody set in a much slower 3/4 time and voiced in the crotales. Increasing gradually in complexity and layers of sound, the melody finally resolves to an A minor “tonic” chord, but only momentarily as a the faster tempo resumes and draws the ensemble quickly back into the C minor/E-flat major passage, this time complete with a dance-like melody laid over a pseudo-blues progression. As the keyboard instruments taper away, the drums and cymbals take over for a brief interlude before leading the listener back into the A minor melody, this time starting with a full ensemble texture and gradually thinning to just the four metallic keyboards on a sustained dominant harmony. The timpani player enters softly on the temporary A minor tonic before a reprise of the opening ensemble passage, a single phrase of the minor melody, and a return of the original rhythmic ostinato, this time however solidly resolving the work in A minor and fading away to silence.