The focus of Polarity is one of discipline. My primal urge as a composer typically demands an obvious approach to formal structure leading me to an all-too-typical climactic moment somewhere around two- thirds of the way through my pieces, no doubt a result of being drawn to the idea of the golden ratio. I so often focus on defying any sort of complacency regarding the development of motives, rhythms and harmonies that I figured a rebellion against formal complacency would be the next logical step in developing my compositional craftsmanship. In doing so I created this piece with a formal structure that is the reverse of my typical formal development, thus placing a climactic section approximately one-third of the way through the piece with a significant amount of rising action preceding it and even more substantial falling action following it. In creating this trajectory, I also felt the need to focus on creating organically smooth increases and decreases in formal energy as to avoid the sense that the piece peaks too soon. This is why the climax is a section and not a singular moment. It is my suspicion that listeners simply expect a culmination of intensity to be placed in a certain spot in a piece of music, and I am seeking to manipulate that expectation if only to force my audience to defy their own complacency.
Polarity was commissioned by and composed for Harrison Clarke and was premiered at the University of Georgia.