Inescapable Spiral was commissioned by the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) and premiered at the Ojai Festival of Contemporary Music on June 10, 2017, with ICE and the UC Irvine Creative Music Ensemble.
Inescapable Spiral is a “variable process” piece for five or more instruments of any kind for musicians with a wide range of playing abilities. This piece can be played with a mixture of students and professional musicians. The work is a collection of short pieces. Some are traditionally notated and others are hybrid graphic scores. Each piece is between 30 seconds and 2 minutes long. Each piece is named a color with the intent that the order of pieces can be rearranged with or without repetition, depending on the desired duration of the piece and the number of instruments. Collision of pieces is expected and especially desired by the composer, but with a sensitivity that a fair portion of each piece should be exposed without collision within the process (unless it is a repetition). That is the challenge — to listen and decide independently/collectively when to enter at just the right time for a brief but not total collision. The work can also be played as a concert of short separate works if that is preferred by the ensemble.
For the performance is it suggested that the musicians sit facing each other in circular fashion, as there is a choreography of sub-groups within the ensemble created for each piece, and communication is key.
There are a few possible ways that celestial bodies can orbit the Earth. One is called the “spiral impact” orbit, in which it is inevitable for one celestial body to be pulled towards the greater object in an “inescapable spiral” until they ultimately collide. —Nicole M. Mitchell