I. Escher Keys: Ascending and Descending

Mapped by register, irregular rhythmic patterns, endlessly rising canons and forever loops, the first movement is the longest of the concerto drawing on a traditional soloist/ensemble relationship.  Starting with a dirge-like march reflecting the monotony of the circling monks, the piece shifts abruptly to the working activity of the monks with no practical purpose.  With some variation, this pattern continues until the middle section of the piece, which descends to the second tier of Escher’s artwork; this section is focused on contemplation, reflecting out and the solemn arches representing the endless process of finite.  Slowly descending to the third tier with Shepard tones in the background sounding as if the lines are moving upwards and downwards simultaneously, a familiar canon by Bach appears before returning to the forever loops.  The movement ends with the figure looking outwards, monochromatic, as if a descent into nothing.  Like Escher’s piece, this movement grapples with double meaning and contradiction.

Duration: 8 minutes


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