Self-quotation and self-parody run rampant in Familiar Punchlines. Leading up to its composition, I had written a handful of pieces that took themselves very seriously. In Familiar Punchlines, I borrowed materials from these recent “serious” pieces, and reimagined how these materials would play out in comic situations. Complex harmonies are stripped down to triads in real time, glissandi infect every material of the piece, the oboe repeatedly attempts to find an appropriate accompaniment for its solo. The comic nature of the piece gave me the liberty to stretch motives to extremes, and pull the rug out from under gestures that seemed too stable.
for Alarm Will Sound