In Not About Posies, the movement titles (ring around, pockets full, ashes, ashes, and we all fall down) are based on the “ring around the rosie” poem. Though it has never been confirmed, some writers have claimed this poem refers to the black death epidemic that struck London in the mid 1600’s. With this negative connotation in mind, I have subtitled each movement to refer to a different epidemic: greed. The four subtitles from the movements end up saying “endless greed destroys everything.”
The first movement uses the idea of endless motion both emotionally and literally. There are only two types of thematic material in this movement, and by the end they have intertwined, leaving only the driving rhythmic material from each section. The second movement uses the notion of greed in several ways. Most of the material in the movement is derived from two overlaid minor chords, and the melody that occurs early in the movement is often quickly snatched away before it can be truly enjoyed.
The third movement takes time to build an intricate structure, but it is built on polyrhythms that never line up. At the structure’s completion, a quiet theme interrupts and begins to break the structure down until it is gone. The fourth and last movement takes themes, progressions, and other materials from the previous three movements and weaves them together with an apocalyptic pulse. After the ‘destroy’ material is mixed with the most poignant themes from the first and second movements, the piece pushes forward to a dramatic conclusion, including a retrograde of the opening piano, harp, and percussion material from the first movement.
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