Wabi-sabi is a Japanese aesthetic principle that is centered on the acceptance of the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death. In visual art and design, this is often reflected through wear and tear: rugged and aged, but never sloppy. This concept has become a focus of my compositional work, as it reveres simplicity, authenticity, and imperfection. become/decay is my first work to acknowledge this principle and derives its name and material from the idea of Wabi-sabi.
Gestures in the work literally reflect a shape of growth and decay, both in terms of short, fragmented melodies, and in the form of the piece, an ABA that transforms over time. The idea of imperfection is not only conveyed through a “dying” of sound in the ritardandi and decrescendi, but also in timbral effects, changes, and combinations in the two instruments.
become/decay is composed for flute and horn, and was commissioned by Zachary and Jennifer Cooper.