Under Cover of Night initially started as a tribute to “Under a Blanket of Blue” from the album Ella and Louis, but as I continued composing, the piece came further and further away from that initial conception. This piece was originally written for Duo Axis who I had the pleasure to work with and who were more than reasonable about my constant questions regarding inside piano techniques.
I constructed this piece in several waves, each connected by a processual thread. During each part of the process, I wanted to include a new but repeating parameter for the piano part. Similarly to the construction of Quartet for the End of Time by Olivier Messiaen, I wanted the piano to have set rhythms which would repeat at a prime interval and chords that would repeat at a different prime interval. But I had also been experimenting with voicings and wanted similar voicings that would repeat at a third prime interval to create a constantly shifting view of the same notes and rhythms. After weeks constructing these chords, I began to discover how I could shift the chords further by changing when each note was struck, giving them a further internal rhythm which gained energy over time. Then to break the process further and to decrease the energy toward the end, I slowed down the initial rhythmic pattern a number of times. Following this intricate work with the piano part, I simply improvised flute parts (focusing on repeated notes and dynamic work, as is my MO) until I had a number of elements which I knew I would enjoy, resulting in one of my favorite pieces that I have ever written, and a fantastic performance to match it.