Vital Signs (2000)
for Flute, Bass Clarinet, Horn, Percussion, Piano, Violin and Cello
Marimba, Vibraphone, 3 tom-toms, 1 suspended cymbals, Bass drum,– 1 player
Duration: 10 min
Commission: newEar contemporary chamber ensemble
Premiere: newEar contemporary chamber ensemble - January 27, 2001; Kansas City, MO
Program Notes: "Vital Signs" consists of seven short chakra-inspired movements for seven players. Chakras are associated with seven basic energy fields of the body starting from the base of the spine and continuing upward towards the crown of the head. These energy fields have been linked to many central issues of our existence, both in the physical and spiritual realm. Important among these are levels of consciousness, developmental stages of life, colors, sounds, body functions and eastern elements.
In "Vital Signs" each player is assigned to a specific chakra, leading the movement, and in a sense taking on the role of a conductor responsible for creating a unit and overall balance of the sound. What drew me originally to the idea of basing a composition on the chakra-system was its natural parallel to my experience with writing music. Bringing together separate elements, finding a balance within the whole and creating harmony are issues common to both. One belief is that a balanced chakra-system creates sacred space within. My own experience with sacred space within has always been through music.
1. Earth – (led by Piano)
2. Water - (led by Marimba)
3. Fire - (led by Cello)
4. Air - (led by Horn)
5. Sound - (led by Bass Clarinet)
6. Light - (led by Violin)
7. Thought - (led by Flute)
“Vital Signs” is intended to be performed without a conductor.
"Vital Signs" was written during a residency at the Ragdale Foundation in Lake Forest, Illinois with the support of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. The peaceful surroundings of the native prairie and the creative energy of other artists hard at work made the experience of writing this piece very memorable. My sincere thanks to the foundation and the residents of Ragdale.