for symphony orchestra; 12′ (2005)
performed by the UW-Madison Symphony Orchestra (reading session):
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“Nova” is an orchestral piece all about slow evolution through clear gestures and vivid textures. There are basically two things going on in “Nova”: first, a tune that starts as a 4-bar phrase but becomes longer and more passionate as the piece continues, evolving into a rapturous minute-long melody that soars above the orchestral texture. Second, a simple tune that outlines a descending scale, which multiplies itself into a super-dense polyphonic texture that explodes through the whole range of the orchestra. With these two building blocks, “Nova” shapes itself into a satisfying dramatic shape, creating theatrical moments, exploiting the harmonic ambiguity of the material, and using ideas borrowed from minimalism to build powerful climaxes. Some of the orchestral parts are deliberately very simple, making “Nova” something that’s fairly easy to perform (this recording was a first reading of the score) but full of depth and passion that reveal themselves as the piece goes on.