Sean William Calhoun | Composer and pianist

Gradients, for sinfonietta (2016) – 10'

The main idea in Gradients is that of harmonies and timbres overlapping with and metamorphosing into each other, much like with color gradients, in which one color turns into another without a clear point of delineation between them. For harmonies, I wanted a sense of harmonic motion, but for the point at which the harmonies shifted to be ambiguous, often pivoting around sustained common tones, so each harmony sounds a bit like the last. The second section takes the title in a rather different direction, with series of vigorous ascending (or occasionally descending) chords ricocheting off of whomps in the bass. A melody (quite unrelated to these ideas) also coalesces gradually through the piece until it forms into a clear statement in the trombone. By the end, all of these elements have come together and are overlapping and switching among each other.

Recording and score

Recording by the Eastman Graduate Composers' Sinfonietta, conducted by Kevin Michael Holzman