in three parts, to be performed in any order, combination, or individually.
"verbing weirds language." --Calvin.
In my very first composition class when I was 22 (I got a late start), one of my peers argued passionately that a good piece will have all its materials in the opening moments and that its trajectory will be predetermined from this moment on. Beginner that I was, I was impressed if not convinced, and today I find it hilarious. The three "variations on a piece" that make up Triptick all begin identically and then diverge, introducing new material as needed. Another motivation for this design were words that have multiple seemingly unrelated meanings: Foil, Clock, Stretch, Keen, Hide, Trip, Tick, etc.... (try thinking of these when falling asleep). Is it possible for music to function analogously?
In each of these pieces, I had a pair of such words in mind and allowed their meanings to inspire my compositional process, sometimes directly, as with "stretch," which directly motivated both the warped meters and stretched chord progressions (where a stack of minor-9ths is gradually stretched to a stack of major-9ths, for instance). A third inspiration for composing a "variation in pieces" is the work of many painters (my mother included) who will paint a series based on a single subject; why choose one? Finally, I have an abstract feeling that somehow this piece is indebted to Schubert; material heard earlier floats by periodically, and then disappears, as if in a dream--not unlike my experiences hearing, say, Schubert's Eb Piano Trio.
as performed by Cristina Buciu, David LeDoux, and Steven Heyman: