A Natural Regression was written during the summer of 2007. It is the product of many conversations with Nathan Oshaben about a piece he wanted me to write for his master’s recital. The first movement, The Appearance of Fog on Glass is a reference for a piece of artwork at the Toledo Museum of Art. I remember being transfixed by the hazy, deep green and grey-blue glass that made up the piece. I reminded me of fog on a mirror or a windshield and how it slowly forms and dissipates. The end section requires use of five-mallet technique. The inner movement, As Frost Covers, is for solo prepared vibraphone. Dimes are placed on the nodes of ten specific bars to produce a shimmer effect. Other extended techniques associated with this movement are bowing, using many different striking implements, creating harmonics, and bending pitches. The last movement, Through Placid Waters is in a time notation with each chord’s duration given approximately in seconds as opposed to being rigidly metered. It is constructed in one large part with a coda. It features a long, controlled crescendo that lasts for nearly six minutes.
The title of each movement refers to a different state of the element H2O and my images associated with them. I chose to focus on the motionless characteristics of H2O. To me, the images of still water, fog, or frost carry with them an energy and tension not found in moving variations of the element.
Each movement can be played separate from the entire work. However, when all three movements are performed together, please adhere to ordering that is specified.