Dead Cat Bounce (2009)

for violin, viola, 'cello, clarinet, piano
By Eric Moe

A “dead cat bounce” is an expression used in financial circles to describe a brief and temporary uptick in the price of a stock following a spectacular decline in its value. (The decline continues after the bounce). The etymology of the phrase is that “even a dead cat will bounce if dropped from a great enough height”. The term was heard a lot in the fall of 2008. Dead cat bounces are clear only in hindsight: no one knows at the time whether the market has bottomed out and a recovery is in progress or whether it is doomed to fall still further. In a similar way – though fortunately no one’s shirt is at stake – the musical argument of this piece is designed to keep the listener in some suspense about what will happen next. Additionally, the title evokes a number of bebop tunes; Charlie Parker’s “Billie’s Bounce” perhaps the best known. Dead Cat Bounce was commissioned by counter)induction. It was a great pleasure and privilege to write for this superb ensemble. The work is dedicated, with affection, to Mario Davidovsky.

Other works by Eric Moe:
“[W]e are modern by the very simple fact that we live in the present. Nobody has yet discovered the art of living in the past, and not even the futurists have discovered the secret of living in the future. We are modern whether we want to be or not.”
--Jorge Luis Borges