Circles was written in collaboration with flutist Teresa Sandragorsian and dancer Nina Guerra. Ms. Guerra produced choreography for a small dance ensemble to be performed alongside the piece, some of which precedes the music and is executed in silence. It was premiered on December 14, 2011 with Teresa Sandragorsian on flute, the composer on piano, and dancers Tracy Boothby, Nina Guerra, Tina Miskinis, and Orlando Moreno. This recording from April 15, 2012 features Ms. Sandragorsian on flute and Briana Dunn on piano.
This piece is minimalistic, focused around a motive inspired by the dancers’ intricate footwork and contrasted against the fluidity of their upper body movement. The motive uses hemiola, providing two layers of metric activity that underlie a third in the flute. The harmony is mostly triadic with added seconds and fourths. While it appears to be in E Lydian, Circles places great emphasis on the raised fourth scale degree (A-sharp), which weakens the tonal center and transfers the listener’s attention to color instead.