Horizon was originally composed in 2008 for submission to the Boston University Composers' Competition. It has a total duration of approximately 10 minutes, and is scored for large symphony orchestra with the following instrumentation: Piccolo, 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, Cor Anglais in F, 2 Clarinets in B-flat, Bass Clarinet in B-flat, 2 Bassoons, Contrabassoon, 4 Horns in F, 3 Trumpets in C, 3 Trombones, Tuba, Harp, Timpani, Snare Drum, Glockenspiel, Vibraphone, Tam-Tam, Woodblocks, Strings.
Written in the winter of 2008–9 and revised in 2011, Horizon is an essay on musical opposites. The two main thematic ideas are first heard in the beginning of the composition in the woodwinds and solo horn. These two melodies are then elongated, elided, mutated, and divided around the ensemble before being reintroduced in their original forms late in the piece. At almost every stage of presentation an opposition exists—high versus low register, stasis versus frenetic motion, group against group and mood against mood.
Technically Horizon seeks to explore compositional techniques while utilizing experiments in orchestration. Due to the many passages that highlight solo instruments within an ever-changing orchestral texture, the work could have easily been entitled "Concerto for Orchestra." As the piece builds to its climax, it takes itself less and less seriously—an Adams-esque 'trickster' personality emerges, symbolized by a relentless woodblock. The themes "turn" on each other, becoming gleefully self-mocking, while the entire work becomes transformed in texture and expression into a rambling, jazzy filigree. After a bright, optimistic arrival, the strings provide a quiet backdrop while tiny elements of the themes re-emerge, intertwine, and vanish.
I am greatly indebted to Professors Martin Amlin, Sam Headrick, Rodney Lister, David Hoose and Richard Cornell for their tireless encouragement and guidance.