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Coalescence Cascade is inspired by the scientific phenomenon of the same name, in which a droplet of water is not completely absorbed upon its initial contact with a larger body of water. Instead, the droplet bounces off the water’s surface at an increasingly smaller volume until it is fully immersed by the larger body of water. This theory strongly influenced the metric and rhythmic identity of this piece. Throughout the work, a rhythmic gesture begins with a flutter of fast notes that gradually decelerates until coming to rest upon a single pitch. The work’s approach to phrasing also imitates the inward and outward flow of an ocean’s tide, always oscillating in duration.
The music’s harmonic language shares a collection of distinct chords and scales found in Igor Stravinsky’s musical play, The Flood and Maurice Ravel’s solo piano work, Jeux d’eau, which roughly translates to “Fountains” or “Playing Water.” These harmonies are treated like unique musical waves of sound that explore different levels of tension and dissonance.
The form of this work resembles the shape of a ripple in that much of the energy and drive cascades outward from the middle section. The outer sections make use of longer phrases that can be imagined as the outer rings of a ripple, slowly losing momentum and definition.