Formal Conceits is a six-minute virtuoso piece completely in common time. The title is inspired by a conversation I had in a lesson with Sam Adler, and is meant to be somewhat ironic. When I had just begun work on the piece, I brought him a very complicated, carefully-wrought plan for what I planned to write, and was advised to “beware such formal conceits”. The admonition stuck with me. The piece therefore bears little resemblance to the beast I had originally set out to create—formally quite simple, and unburdened with pre-compositional schemes.
recorded live at the Tenri Cultural Institute, New York City, October 2006
performers Frances Elliott, flute; Rebecca Doggett, clarinet; Owen Dalby, violin; Hannah Collins, cello; Timo Andres, piano