Ether (2012) is one of a handful of pieces in my portfolio that is organized in part by twelve-tone serialism—a compositional technique originating in the early 1900s that emphasizes using all the notes of the chromatic scale equally and without preference. Most of the melodies and accompanimental motives in this piece are organized as such, but without the same rigidity that purely serial pieces possess. The result is a mysterious, “ethereal” sound inspiring the title.
Ether was a drug that caused mass chaos in the 1800s, and as a chemical compound can produce volatile peroxides when exposed to too much oxygen. This work attempts to convey both aspects of this intriguing substance—the drug-induced stupor, and the explosions of its volatile byproducts.