If you are interested in sax or clarinet works, please see Ricochet Orbit for Soprano Sax and fixed-media.

Sundog program notes:

A sundog or parhelion is an atmospheric phenomenon that creates bright spots in the sky appearing on either side of the sun formed by the refraction of sunlight through ice crystals in the Earth’s atmosphere. A sundog may sometimes appear in the sky as three suns where the central “real” sun is flanked on either side by two reflected, imperfect suns.

The idea to title a work Sundog had been on my mind for several years, but I could never find the right inspiration to fit such a title. This changed after I began working with Ptolemaic magic squares, each of which has a planetary association. For example, there is a square of the moon (9x9), a square of mars (5x5), and other squares that are each named after celestial bodies. For this work, predictably, I used the magic square of the sun, which is represented by a 6x6 magic square.

The visual image of three suns composed of a “real” central sun with two reflections on either side gave me the idea to create a composition for two instruments where each instrument shared a single governing square used in a variety of ways. This square could guide one musical parameter such as rhythms for the two voices in a similar way but could regulate other musical parameters such as pitch and melodic contour in different ways. Thus, the common treatment of rhythm shared by the different reorderings for each instrument of the common pitch material deliver an impression of distorted reflections.