Like one who has clambered too high
For Soprano solo, 3 Cellos, 2 Basses and Percussion
Charles Baudelaire’s Châtiment de l’Orgueil was the inspiration for this piece. The text comes from his well-known Les Fleurs du Mal and tells the story of a person of high standing who, after grasping too high in a prideful manner, fell from grace to become the lowest of the low. The music attempts to mirror and enhance this sense of culmination of effort followed by collapse. In the opening the strings build a texture of interweaving harmonics that increase in rhythmic and harmonic complexity, this is followed by a brief moment of implied respite, which turns sour and marks the beginning of the chaotic descent. From this moment the strings and percussion break off into a fast-paced contrapuntal web culminating in a repetition of the initial material, this time somewhat faulty and with less precision than before, this fades, leaving the voice to finish alone.
Throughout this piece, I have made use of the Infinity Series. This was discovered by Per Nørgård in 1959 and is, in essence, a method of creating an infinite, non-repeating series based off of the skeleton of any mode or scale.