Large Ensemble

Balagan

2.2.3.3 / 4.4.3.1 / Hp / Timp / 3 Perc / Strings

Balagan is a Polish word that has swooped into the collective consciousness of Israeli slang. It means simply “chaos”, but, unlike in English, it functions as a noun - not so much a state-of-being verb as an entity in and of itself. Thus the piece is not “chaotic” but a balagan, an entity of chaos. The original impetus for the work was the Trump administration, certainly a balagan in its own right, but it was influenced heavily by a trip to Israel in the fall of 2017 and seeing the the socio-political climate of that country and region firsthand. Illustrating both situations in an abstract musical balagan gave me an outlet to help cope with my deep feelings on them.

Forever Building Edens

2.2.2.2 / 4.2.3.1 /Hp / Timp / 2 Perc / Strings

Forever Building Edens comes from A Canticle for Leibowitz, a novel that follows an order of monks in the post-apocalyptic United States. They, much like the monks of our own Middle Ages, are charged with the task of storing knowledge for future generations. What is striking, however, is that their illuminated documents and holy relics are our everyday items - blueprints, engines, slips of paper with grocery lists, etc.

    This notion of “normal” objects becoming precious to later historical epochs is evidence of a cyclic history: civilizations rise, become unstable, and inevitably fall. Out of what remains grows a new civilization, and the cycle begins again.  The new era is always fascinated with the old, studying it, examining its culture and people, trying to understand how and why it collapsed. It begs the question: what of ours will future archaeologists put in their museums to study? It also begs the more menacing question: how will our society eventually end?

    Miller’s extraordinary invocation to the final part of his novel, from which the title of this work comes, illustrates the darker side of these questions.  His centuries march onward, past the stirrings of fledgeling populations, their technological growth and increasingly elaborate hierarchical organizations unnoticed, its lives and deaths unmourned. It is a bleak picture indeed.  Is it even possible for us to build an Eden? And, if so, what must we do differently to succeed?

Furcations

2 Solo Violas; Fl, Ob, Cl, Bsn, Tpt, Hn, Tbn, Tba, 1 Perc

Furcations is the product of an old friend’s long-standing request for a double viola concerto. The piece is a theoretical and musical exploration of a simple question: “how can two of the same instrument be split into x parts?” That is, I had two of the same instrument as soloists - how do they retain their individuality when they are (more or less) identical? This led to the word “Furcation,” an abstraction of the root of “bifurcation” (divided in two), which then extrapolated to “naughtifurcation” (divided into zero), and finally “unifurcation” (divided in one). The three movements are attempts to reconcile all elements of a piece of music with these respective divisions.

Ragnarok

Picc / 3 Fl / 2 Cl / BCl / 2 A Sax / T Sax / B Sax / 3 Tpt / 2 Hn / 2 Tbn / 2 Bar / Tba (opt. 2) / 4 Perc

Ragnarok: Lullaby for the Gods was written in the Spring of 2015 for Jim McCarl and the Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy in Melbourne, FL. It is a reimagining of the Norse apocalypse known as Ragnarok (literally “twilight of the gods”). It involves a significant battle, lots of characters both divine and semi-divine, and the eventual burning of the entire world and its submergence in water. Much like other end-of-days tales, it is the way in which the world “resets” itself. Unusually, though, it is not humans but the gods and their hubris that begin and continue this series of events. This work is for those gods who perish in the struggle. It sings them to sleep, with a darker tinge of “I told you so” under the surface. The melody that pervades the work is a Medieval English Christmas Carol - a lullaby that has to do with the loss of love and the death of gods.

Waking Became Dreaming

Solo Tenor, 8-part Choir, Fl, Ob, Cl (Bs. Cl), 2 Hns, Tpt, Tbn, Timp, 2 Perc, Strings

Waking Became Dreaming was originally composed as my Master's Thesis work. It is a cantata exploring a deeply personal journey of self-discovery as an artist and a human, as well as the broad journey from light into darkness and back out again. It was edited and refurbished in the spring of 2020.

1 / 1

Please reload

 

© 2016 by Kevin Joest

Created on Wix

  • Facebook Clean
  • SoundCloud Clean
  • White Instagram Icon