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colorless green ideas sleep furiously

for full orchestra

Year:  2012   ·  Duration:  17m 30s
Instrumentation:  3*3*3*3*; 4331; timp., 3 perc; hp; str | (Perc: sn.dr, bs.dr, cyms., tam-tam, 4 roto-toms, 4 tom-toms, bongos, claves, tamb., glock., mar., vib.)

Year:  2012
Duration:  17m 30s
Instrumentation  3*3*3*3*; 4331; timp., 3 pe...

Composer:   Jeremy Mayall


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This piece has essentially become a journey – a journey to nowhere in particular, but one that is filled with a lot of variation along the way. The title for the piece is a sentence composed by Noam Chomsky to be grammatically correct but semantically nonsensical. This sentence seemed interesting as a title because the more one ponders its meaning, the more your own sense and context for it begins to develop.

The inspiration for this piece came from a number of different places: Taking both Toru Takemitsu and John Adams as musical precedents, this piece draws from their compositional aesthetics (with particular focus on repetition of rhythm and gesture); and tries to synthesize that with further influence from jazz music, electronic dance music and film scoring techniques to create a new hybrid form. The structure of the piece is very strongly influenced by the techniques of film editing, rather than more traditional orchestral forms. So instead of a measured progressive development of ideas, the goal was to create something that is very sectional and ‘choppy’.

In composing this piece the aim was to take both the role of the ‘traditional composer’ and the modern pop ‘producer/composer’ and combine these compositional approaches – Developing musical fragments by approximating digital studio effects and editing techniques on acoustic instruments through traditional notation.

This piece was written as part of the composers PhD composition portfolio that is exploring the possibilities of cross-genre hybridity in musical composition.