excerpt, performed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Western Percussion Ensemble:
composer’s note: I was inspired to write “A Gleam in Her Eye” after reading reviews in popular music magazines of some of my favorite electronic music CDs, which described each song as having a form based entirely on shifting color and rhythmic patterns. While my music sounds very little like electronic pop music, this way of thinking about music feels tailor-made for the seemingly endless colors of percussion instruments, and appeals to me very much. In addition, I have always had a personal fascination with pitched percussion instruments, and the magic that can turn the striking of various objects with beaters into a plush orchestral sound replete with sumptuous harmony. “A Gleam in Her Eye” is a synthesis of those two ideas, a “song” that borrows formal ideas from electronic pop music and orchestrational concepts from the symphony. This allows the piece to be immediately accessible on first listen, but full of complex textures and colors that glimmer and sparkle in the foreground. It is dedicated to the memory of my mother Naomi, who had a remarkable gleam in her eye that always spoke volumes.