Program Note for TCAG (in honorarium CAGE) (2013)

(excerpt to be added)

TCAG (in honorarium CAGE) was written at the request of Illinois College’s Choral Director Abby Musgrove for a short choral work that would celebrate the 60th anniversary of the discovery of DNA.  We considered many kinds of materials that could generate a specific sequence.  I chose, instead, to focus on using the letters that represent the four components of DNA themselves: T, C, A, and G.  This work uses these four notes - sung as D, C, A, G - in different rotations throughout the choir, the piano, organ, and handbells.  While composing the piece a mutation of the pitch E began to emerge in the middle and – quite to my surprise – the name CAGE briefly appeared.  This short meditation on DNA unfolds a pentatonic field that slowly changes texture and then gently dissolves.