Ceremonial II was commissioned by Professor Kathleen Hammond of the University of California at Berkeley, for her bassoon teacher, Gregory Barber. It was written in 2000 and is six minutes long. In 2011 at the encouragement of the Bass Clarinettist Harry Sparnaay I made a version for flute and bass clarinet.
The ideas in Ceremonial II alternate between an enigmatic but expressive opening slow idea that features an ecstatic flute line carved out of the same material as the bassoon part, and a frenetic, very fast idea, that tries to race ahead of itself. Along the way the discourse is intensified and brought into focus with a march-like pesante idea.
The Ceremonials are in a somewhat more relaxed in idiom than most of my other pieces. They either do not use my preferred “architectural” precompositional methods, or use somewhat less encompassing versions of them. They employ materials that are, by the standards of proper Modernist style, generally more conventional, with types of rhythmic movement that grow out of the materials themselves, as with most conventionally written music: ideas that correspond to bodily movements for example, such as dance steps. So far each Ceremonial has been for a slightly larger group, but this seems to be a coincidence. There are sketches for further Ceremonials.
Updated December 12, 2011. Updated December 12, 2014.