Andrea Clearfield: Trax (for octet) (excerpt)
Delaware Center for Contemporary Art, Wilmington, DE
The Relâche Ensemble
TRAX is a short work based on rhythm, interval and motive that nods at different musical languages: jazz, funk, blues, baroque, romantic and atonal. The work began as a sax quartet, Sax Trax (1997) for the Diastema (France), Helikon (Holland) and Prism (US) sax quartets and later became a mallet quartet for the Battery 4 Percussion Group. TRAX was reconstructed for the Relâche Ensemble where the colors of the various instruments highlight the counterpoint and changing textures. The piece begins with pointillistic rhythms followed by a blues-like middle section featuring some improvisation. Sostenuto lines give way to soloistic passages over slowly evolving harmonies. A brief transition leads into a recapitulation of the opening material where, after a momentary loss of verve, the ensemble re-enters with renewed vigor and drives the piece to its close.