for Flute and Alto Saxophone
Commissioned by Kaitlyn and Richard Laprise
Shadow Puppets was written in 2016 for Kaitlyn and Richard Laprise, two dear
friends who premiered the piece in Ithaca, NY in October of that same year. From the
very inception of the work, I wanted to consider all of the different ways in which I could translate the visual phenomena of shadows into the aural world of sound. At the time, I
was very interested in extended technique, specifically on woodwind instruments, and
flute and saxophone offered a variety of colors that I was inspired to explore.
The opening gestures of the piece are so quiet that they are nearly imperceptible,
marked as “ghosted notes” and “subtone” in the flute and saxophone parts respectively.
The two instruments gradually reveal themselves, materializing from their almost
invisible noises into audible notes and rhythms before the very eyes (and ears) of the
listener. I also sought to invert the common formal “Development” section by taking
these motives and stripping them of their musical identities, reducing them back to
strictly noise and movement in the exact middle of the piece. This choice was inspired
by our perception of shadows being a negative projection of that which is blocking the