A Wake At Night (1993)
for String Orchestra
or Nine Strings (4-2-2-1)

Click to Play

In 1991, at age 41, I decided to enter graduate school.  I felt I needed something to mend what I perceived as a case of the imaginative blahs.  I found new inspiration through my studies with Chinary Ung.  

A WAKE AT NIGHT was the first flowering of this inspiration.  In this work I took a melodic improvisation, stretched it and used it as a source of compositional material for the entire work.  Important for me at the time was that the sequence of the improvisation was kept intact.  The work which grew from the improvisation kept its note-to-note intuitive inspiration, while at the same time generating all of its own accompanying material.  This work became my Masters thesis.

The title refers to many things, but mostly it refers to the image of a boat slipping through the water at night churning up a shimmering phosphorescent wake.  The improvisation is the boat, and all the generated "accompanying" material is the shimmering wake.  The derived material often ends up overshadowing the original.  The hybrid process involved in this work inspired my composition for over a decade, and also reinvigorated my improvisation leading to success of its own.