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Anthony Cheung
13 min

I wrote Roundabouts at the request of pianist Ueli Wiget, whom I had the fortune to meet while rehearsing with the Ensemble Modern in 2009. Knowing that the work would be performed with live video accompaniment by video artist and collaborator Lillevan, and inspired by the thought of sharing a program with music that I know and love, I set out to write a work in five contrasting sections. The opening material of four suspended notes returns frequently in different guises and contexts. "Elegies in the Round" opens with these four notes, which expand, spiral-like, both outwards and downwards while accumulating layer upon layer. "Reflexive Mirrors" deals with two parallel narratives - connected/separated by the sostenuto pedal - and reflects itself halfway through. There are further dichotomies of texture and rhythm in "Amoroso/Scherzando," while "Synapse groove" makes use of independent layers and syncopated, irregular grooves that occasionally align across registers. "Snap to Grid" is a reference to the grid-like properties of rhythmic notation in western music (and to a modern extension of this practice in the "snap to grid" feature of software sequencers). It pairs asymmetrical grooves with increasingly strained melodies, punctuated by outbursts of a running parenthetical commentary.

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