Composed for workshop at the Aspen Music Festival Contemporary Music Festival, 1990. FIrst performed by students at the University of Michigan, April 25, 1991, composer conducting.
Metal Rites was written in two weeks in May of 1990 for a scheduled reading at the Aspen Music Festival by what eventually became the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble. The inital impulse was inspired by nothing more than the soundtrack to a PBS documentary one afternoon.
Three things immediately came to the fore as the technical apparatus of the work. 1) It would continually increase in tempo and excitement, à la the Dance of the Seven Veils, and be rhythmically suitable for modern dance choreography (which has not happened to date), 2) it would be variations on a melody (heard in the introduction), and 3) it would appropriate the simple, usually pentatonic open fifth, harmonies of Heavy Metal music, and re-contextualize them in a bright, mercurial, Classical ensemble, rendering their Rock source all but unrecognizable.
Flute, Clarinet, Piano, Violin, Cello and Percussion