Date of this Version
Incessance is structured around a relentless eight-note ostinato played throughout by the marimba. This skeletal thread, initially presented as a 22-note pattern, based in part on the Japanese Hirajoshi mode, functions as a pitch feeder for the rest of the ensemble, which double, anticipate or expand on its harmonic implications. The music is interrupted four times by misterioso bits of “night music” played on the glockenspiel against tremolo strings. The tempi of each of the subsequent ostinato section are slightly slower than the previous while the accompanying ensemble rhythms increase in speed and variety. Some of the writing for the alto flute is perhaps reminiscent of Boulez’s Le Marteau sans Maitre. In general the piece evolves towards a softer, higher pitched music before the concluding Coda returns to the spirit of the opening. Incessance lasts approximately 6 and 1/2 minutes.