Snipe Hunt, The

for Band

  • Genre
    Wind Ensemble
  • Commissioned by/written for
    Janice Stockhouse
  • Year completed
  • Year revised
  • Timing
  • Catalog number
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  • General notes
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The Snipe Hunt was begun on June 9, 2010, and completed 12 days later. In English usage, a snipe hunt occurs when someone is sent out to look for something that does not exist. The snipe of the idiom comes from a bird famous for its elusiveness. For the present work, I sought to suggest its title through the very character of the piece itself. The listener will note that neither style nor tonality really settles down. Rather, one hears at the outset a twelve-tone row in the solo bass clarinet, with writing in a spooky vein, the opening section climaxing in a blatantly dissonant chord. From there, the tonality shifts between tonal, freely-tonal, almost-tonal and even jazz. Textures also shift around a good bit, ranging from a contrapuntal chorale style to a spiky rhythmic section in 7/8 meter. Thus, in this work, the elusive snipe is suggested by the fact that stability and consistency will elude the listener. One may hunt for a long time--or at least the seven-minute duration of this work--without finding those things.

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