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Phobias, for Chamber Ensemble (2012)

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Published on Apr 13, 2013

Music by Anthony L. Sanchez (b. 1988)

Full score and parts available on Patreon: https://bit.ly/2Maxgm1

I. Germaphobia
II. Claustrophobia
III. Acrophobia


Amber Willbanks, Clarinet in B-Flat
Hannah Reed, Bassoon
Patrick Glen, Trumpet in C
Andrew Durden, Trombone
Leland Lyle and Aaron Jennnings, Percussion
William Spivey, Violin
Elijah Scott, Double Bass

Conducted by the composer


Program Notes:

After reviewing several of my older compositions in early 2012, I realized that some of these pieces consisted of traditional (albeit, predictable) musical structures. The Phobias represent a brief departure from this compositional style. They are intentionally experimental because they feature more dissonance and explore more creative uses for percussion.

Contextually this set depicts three common fears: Germaphobia, Claustrophobia and Acrophobia. To a certain degree, this work also demonstrates how a phobic person might perceive these fears. The first movement, "Germaphobia," depicts the fear of germs and frequently shifts between slow and fast tempi. The piece begins with a quick pattern in the Bass Drum, signifying a beating heart and foreshadowing what is to follow. The woodwinds, brass and strings depict microbes or dirt accumulating on a surface. This is quickly followed by periods of the frantic squeaking of a rubber duck (or any other device that produces a similar sound). This pattern continues and builds in intensity, almost to frustration. The slow trills in the ensemble signify that the germs have not disappeared.

For the second movement, "Claustrophobia," I composed two particular themes: a slow Bossa Nova and the actual fear, represented by rapid triplets and tremolos, shrinking intervals (from 9ths to 2nds) and glissandi in the ensemble, save for percussion. This theme gradually interrupts the Bossa Nova to the point where the music becomes distorted. Although this music can apply to any scenario where claustrophobia is involved, I imagined being stuck in an elevator surrounded by a large group of people.

To avoid being too predictable in the last movement, "Acrophobia," I used glissandi in different directions, as well as various dynamic levels to create the impression of vertigo and nausea. This piece also features Rapid Breathing in the percussion, signifying hyperventilation. Of course, with this last movement, I also wanted to provide a sense of resolution in order to demonstrate that fears can be conquered. Thus, "Acrophobia" ends with the same final motive from Germaphobia, albeit on a major chord.

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