Crossing the Rio Grande / Collaborative Works / Concert Music

Crossing the Rio Grande

Crossing the Rio Grande, 2004 (5′)

for bassoon, two violins, cello, and double bass

Crossing the Rio Grande is the musical component of a collaborative effort with the artistic production company, New Catalogue. This collaboration took place at the Tanglewood Music Center in Summer, 2004, as part of the Composition program. Artists Luke Batten and Jonathan Sadler, who together comprise New Catalogue, explore contemporary issues through images, often static and consistently striking, that touch a nerve in our collective culture. Their film, Crossing the Rio Grande, is a five-minute fixed-position camera shot of a man crossing the famed river. The title of the piece carries political overtones that are diffused by the tame content of the film itself, creating a dissonance between expectation and reception. My music for the film attempts to emphasize that dissonance, building the tension to a climax that is strongly anti-climactic in nature. The end of the piece has a reflective tone that matches the serene beauty of the Southwestern landscape, expertly depicted by New Catalogue.