fl/pic, ob, cl, t.sax, b.sax, bsn, hrn, tpt, trb, solo perc, solo elec, solo e.bass, solo synth, strings– duration: 25’
General Electric is an eighteen-minute concerto grosso for electric guitar, electric bass, synthesizer, percussion and large chamber ensemble. The electric guitar, electric bass, synthesizer and percussion form the concertino section. The ripieno section consists of flute/piccolo, oboe, clarinet in Bb, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, bassoon, horn in F, trumpet, trombone, and strings. Due to the nature of guitars, synthesizer, and percussion, and including the influence of current and past popular culture and music into the composition of the work, General Electric is a union of contemporary classical music, baroque music, and rock-and-roll.
The work is divided into seven movements and begins with a theme that occurs in the beginning, middle, and end of the work. At times, the concertino is a quartet at the foreground of the musical environment while at other times it is an accompaniment to instruments from the ripieno section. In addition to this, each member of the concertino has individual soloist obligations. As the composition unfolds, the guitar and synthesizer modify their sounds for different sections of the piece. For example, the guitar uses a “clean sound” reminiscent of a rounded warm jazz guitar; this is buttressed in the outer movements by a distorted tone found in “heavy metal” music. In various movements, the synthesizer uses the sounds of very high pitched steel-drums, a harmonica, an “orchestra hit” (which is a sample of an orchestra performing one note), a harpsichord, and a sweeping electronic sound which emulates avant-garde music. Using a digital delay effect – which is the exact repeat of the articulated notes at a set duration – canonic motives result in the guitar and synthesizer. This culminates in a movement entitled “Echoplex,” where a melody is orchestrated in the ensemble in a way that makes it sound as if it is echoing, though no electronic effects are used.