Big Fish Eat Little Fish (2021/2) 8.5’
Big Fish Eat Little Fish is inspired by a mid-16th century engraving of the same name by Pieter Bruegel, the elder. The allegorical image illustrates a Latin proverb relating to the perpetual cycle in which the rich and powerful oppress the weak. Bruegel's surreal image reveals many small and large fish oozing out of an enormous fish stranded on the shore. In my piece I wanted to convey the sense of overflow and recursion which characterize Bruegel's artwork. Texturally, the piece is written in the genre of a perpetuum mobile, a continuous stream of notes. The piece's harmonic language and formal design is derived from a single sonority - the major 7th chord. Through obsessive Kaleidoscopic rotations, this harmony is articulated on various time scales, like a fractal shape whose parts are similar to the whole at many levels of magnification. Like the incessant churning of the capitalist machine, I wanted the organ to sound like an overflowing, fantastic labyrinth, where there is always a bigger fish lurking around the corner.
Carolyn Craig has performed the work at:
Truro Cathedral, UK, August 2021
Woolsey Hall, Yale University, April 2022
St. Paul's Episcopal in Greenville, NC, East Carolina Musical Arts Education Foundation Summer Recital Series, June 29th 2022
Methuen Memorial Music Hall's Organ Concert Series, Methuen, MA, July 13, 2022