W Is For Weasel score
This piece was originally envisioned as a single-movement work. As I composed it, however, new ideas began emerging which would not be appropriate for a single-movement format and I expanded the piece into a suite of four movements.
The titles of the movements are:
INSISTENCE A brisk cut-time movement with a waltz in the middle. A driving, insistent theme pervades.
ESTAMPIE The estampie is a dance form—one of the earliest types of specifically instrumental music from the Middle Ages. The handful of medieval estampies which survive are monophonic and are often performed in unison or octaves. Even though the rhythm here— alternating measures of 7/8 & 5/8—is slightly more complicated than a medieval estampie, the confined melodic material and pattern of repeats are traits characteristic of the original form.
W IS FOR WEASEL A set of variations on Pop! Goes the Weasel! Listen for an allusion to the well-known theme from Beethoven's 6th Symphony (Frohe, dankbare Gefühle nach dem Sturm (Happy, thankful feelings after the storm).
Metempsychosis—A WAR PRAYER The final contemplative movement recalls the first movement's theme. "Metempsychsosis" (a significant word in Joyce's Ulysses), means "the transmigration of souls." This is an homage to all those—especially the children—who have suffered and been killed as a direct consequence of war. The last few bars where the instruments gradually ascend in pitch is intended as a musical apotheosis, a technique taken from the Baroque tombeau (a type of musical elegy), where the ascending pitches of the instruments symbolically carry the souls to heaven.