Gang Related (2001)

for: vibraphone, clarinet, trumpet, tuba, percussion
duration: 12 minutes
premiered: by GroundSwell, April 2002
Manitoba Arts Council Commission

This work represents something of a departure for me as a composer.  It makes use of an unusual instrumentation and the inclusion of free fand controlled improvisation.  Gang Related was commissioned to be part of a concert that sees the audience ferried through an urban setting on a city bus, disembarking at various stations along the route for dance, music and other media performances.  The work was premiered in a warehouse loading dock area with the audience standing in the gravel parking lot.

Gang Related begins with tuba alone. As the work progresses, other instrumentalists are gradually drawn into the fold.  Movement IV, which is the longest of the set, features the full ensemble. Improvisation is largely relegated to the vibraphonist.

The amount and type of improvisation varies considerably in this piece: sometimes the player is given a group of pitches and a general formal structure; other times a rhythmic and harmonic structure is provided and the player must embellish it; there is also a movement which asks for free improvisation.

Gang Related is a 12 minute work in six movements.  The work has been withdrawn and is not available for performance.

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