AQUATIC REFUGE / INFERNAL SIEGE
for Symphony Orchestra (2009)
This piece was inspired by and based upon the photorealistic artwork of Alex Ross and Doug Braithwaite in the graphic novel series Justice (pub. 2005-2007).
Mr. McCune is drawn to Ross' paintings and illustrations, which lend vividly realistic dimension to an otherwise fantastic universe.
The intention here was to employ the same palette—to render a world of fantasy in lush, romantic hues while avoiding openly "cartoonish" simplicity.
PENTATHLON for two violins, viola, and two celli (arr. 2009)
The inspiration for Pentathlon (2007, originally for brass quintet) surprisingly has no connection with athletics. The composer was trying to create a harmonic and organizational compositional system unlike any of his previous works.
On the bus to UNC’s campus he saw a person filling out a Sudoku, which sparked the idea of creating a kind of “magic square” that had reflexive mathematical correlations in each set of pitches. The work abides by strict rules within each set, but maintains tonality.
The title corresponds with its Olympian character, the five-player setting, and the musical athleticism required to perform this piece.
MORE CHAMBER WORKS
TRINITY for saxophone quartet
Trinity (2006) is a three-movement work for saxophone quartet that comes out of a semester study with Allen Anderson.
As indicated by its title, the first movement Gravity, employs ideas of weight throughout—from the heavy downward gesture in the first measure to the grave angst of the slower section to the collapse at the end.
Opacity, movement two, is the wounded consequence that wades through the ruins of the previous movement.
The final movement Agility is a lively exaltation that turns and bends its way through distinct harmonies—as opposed to the burdened tones of Opacity—and breaks free from Gravity in the final gesture of the composition, leaping up into the harmonic stratosphere.