The Essential Tension (1998)

for 'cello, percussion, contrabass, electric guitar, saxophone (alto)
By Douglas Boyce
American

“Thomas S. Kuhn, in his essay “The Essential Tension” describes conflicting tendencies of innovation and tradition in science and scientific training. He states “Very often the successful scientist must simultaneously display the characteristics of the traditionalist and of the iconoclast.” An analagous tension exists for composers (especially academically trained composers) in today’s poly-stylist aesthetic landscape; we are trained in particular styles or aesthetic traditions, but the actual practice of contemporary music is far boader than can possible be represented in any curriculum. I view this as less of a problem of curricular design than one of reliance on outmoded concepts like ‘style.’ By incorporating ostensibly conflicting elements of my own cultural training I hope to undermine the partitioning of music into simplistic and misleading catagories. In this work, rock rhythmic and timbral characteristics intermix freely and prolifically with a highly contrapuntal approach to chamber music; each going about its own business with out worrying about what the other is up to.” – DB

Other works by Douglas Boyce:
“Music is the best means we have of digesting time. ”
--W. H. Auden