Erin Freeman conducting
the Peabody Symphony Orchestra
Parametric Transmutations is a monument to Burt's dedication to detail, carefully crafted from each individual note, harmony, and rhythm to the large morphing shape. This work features massive polyformal elements, different compositional parameters transitioning at different times: the density of activity, the octave spread of cloud harmonies, the rate of change of timbre in melodic lines. It is appealing with many layers of complexity that reward repeated listening.
Erin Freeman (http://www.erinrfreeman.com/) led the Peabody Symphony Orchestra (the ripieno) and a group of eight brave chamber performers (the concertino). This large group/small group organization, borrowed from the Baroque, allows for massive orchestral all-in moments juxtaposed with quiet chamber music groupings.
Awarded Honorable Mentions in the Macht Competition.
Observing the works of Boulez and Messaien -- especially ...explosante-fixe..., Burt found very beautiful, modern ways to create harmony derived from a solo line. This concept is important in a number of his compositions, first in the string quartet movement DECLENSION, and in Incandescent Silhouette, Fountain Resonances, and especially Parametric Transmutations.
Creating this kind of texture is simple. Begin with any monophonic line in one instrument. Determine which notes in the line are most important. Are they the highest or lowest notes? Are they accented? Do seem emphasized by meter or rhythm? Use these notes to in the other instruments. Have each instrument or group of instruments play one of these notes. Experiment with playing them in the order they were featured in the melody or modifying their order. Also, try inserting other quicker notes that lead to these emphasized notes.