Mar 13, 2009

Richard Brooks

RICHARD BROOKS holds a BS degree in Music Education from the Crane School of Music, Potsdam College, an MA in Composition from Binghamton University and a PhD in Composition from New York University. In December 2004 he retired from Nassau Community College where he taught for 30 years; for the last 22 years he served as department chairperson. From 1977 to 1982 he was Chairman of the Executive Committee of the American Society of University Composers (now the Society of Composers, Inc.). From 1993-2002 he served as President of the American Composers Alliance. He is an active composer with over eighty works to his credit, including two full length operas. His children’s opera, Rapunzel, was most recently produced by the Cincinnati Opera giving 65 performances. He was selected as New Music Connoisseur’s New Music Champion for 2006-2007 in recognition of his work with Capstone Records on behalf of new music. He was recently appointed Composer-in-Residence with The Lark Ascending (NYC).

(2007) is a virtuoso work in three movements. All three movements are based on one of the six all-combinatorial hexachords articulated by Milton Babbitt. The interval pattern is: 2-1-1-1-2 which is one of the diatonic hexachords from which one can derive a triad containing both a major third and a minor third (C-D-E-flat-E-F-G). An all combinatorial hexachord must be transposable and invertible at some pitch level that yields the other six notes of the chromatic scale (in this case F-sharp-G-sharp-A-A-sharp-B-C-sharp). This hexachord thus suggests both atonal and tonal configurations, which is a prevailing interest of the composer.

The first movement is a hybrid structure incorporating features of both sonata form and ternary form. The interval pattern (2-1-1-1-2) suggested a rhythmic pattern of 2+3+2 which is featured in the middle section.

The second movement is in a slow tempo and is cast in a rather traditional ternary form with a slightly faster middle section. It is intended to have a quasi-rhapsodic character.

The last movement is a perpetual motion piece. There are four distinct segments with the opening using an initial duple beat pattern. This is followed by a section using a quintuple pattern, then another in seven. The rows are exploited by alternating between the prime hexachord and the inversion with each hexachord rotating through the row (a technique employed earlier by Stravinsky). In the middle sections the motion “slows down” due to more use of repeated notes until the opening velocitato section returns. (World Premiere)