Strange Times in Normal, IL
for mixed quintet
Written for NOW Ensemble.
Premiered at the 2020 Red Note New Music Festival at Illinois State University.
Strange Times in Normal, IL is a piece about duality. The work explores seemingly opposing musical materials: light, dark; happy, sad; aggressive, tranquil. The title itself plays on this notion, juxtaposing what is "strange" and what is "normal."
As I was writing the piece, another, perhaps more subtle narrative began to occur to me. Many sections sound almost...sentimental. Nostalgic. To me, Normal, IL could stand for almost any small town in America -- maybe not so different from the one in which I grew up. In our current socio-political climate, I'd say these are certainly strange, tumultuous times. We are in an era of immense, rapid change. This piece is perhaps an ode to the "Normals" of the country. Or maybe it's a relic of a time already past, slipped through our fingers, as nostalgia often is.
Excerpt of the premiere by NOW Ensemble: