I wrote Contrapose in Chicago for violist Michael Hall. It is part of my journey of working with kinetic energy and a deep connection to the body. It was competed in February 2020.
Contrapose is part of a series of pieces that deal with my kinetic approach to music, drawing from metaphors of inertia, energy accumulation, energy potential, transference and discharge and similar schemas. What sets this piece apart is that it is deeply inspired by body work, namely a school of yoga called Vijnana yoga. In Vijnana there are two concepts that spoke to me a great deal: rooting and connecting. “As the roots of a tree deepen and widen into the earth, so the branches above expand into the sky.” “Always be conscious of two opposite directions that are connected to each other. To go up, go down. To go forwards, shift into the back. Wishing for the left side, steady yourself on the right. Wishing to expand, come from the core. The first direction is the arrow, the second direction is the bow; the thread which binds them is connecting.” (Vijñāna Yoga Practice Manual, Orit Sen-Gupta). For every gesture in the piece, viola and piano join together to balance forces of rooting down and reaching out.