Instrumentation: Timpani and piano
Performance notes: The timpani player is required to play quickly and quietly, change the tuning of the timpani while playing it to produce a steady bend in the pitch until the new pitch is reached, and listen carefully through the sound of the timpani in order to hear the piano's pulse. This piece can be quite difficult to play at the prescribed tempo, but it still sounds great when it is played slower than marked. Doing this can make it easier on both the performer and even some audiences. A danger to watch for is that the piano can be easily overpowered in dark or very wet halls, so be sure to take the necessary precautions to make sure the piano is always heard clearly. This can be achieved by performing in a bright or less resonate hall, using a brighter piano such as a Yamaha, or by slightly muffling the drums as a last resort. Artificial amplification might work, but the placement of the sound source for the piano has to be in a location that enables it to mix with the sound of the timpani on the stage.
Background information: My friend Amy premiered this at the University of Illinois during her senior recital. She is an extremely talented performer and a passionate music educator. She asked me to write this piece specifically for her recital, and I accepted with eventual enthusiasm. I took the assignment as an opportunity to test my abilities after writing Transition and The Dark Process as well as to get my foot in the door for graduate school at the university; not to mention doing a favor for an old friend. After it was premiered I spoke with the department chair of percussion, and he said that he would put a good word in for me in the composition department. I have since been rejected for graduate studies at the University of Illinois, and plan to pursue them at Michigan State University.
Very few have ever asked me why the piece is called Application.