From Either Side of the Table by Justin ...

June 13, 2024  |   Posted In

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By Justin Casinghino

Duration: 10 minutes, 30 seconds
Grade Level: 4

From Either Side of the Table began with reflection on both the unique instrumental request of the commission – two full wind ensembles sitting on either side of the stage – and that the piece would be premiered at the Kennedy Center, within our nation’s capital city. Contemplation on these two elements brought me to the same idea, that I had two sides, a left and a right, creating both a stereo audio field and the means to offer my thoughts on what I see as ideal political discourse. I want to make clear that this piece is in no way about “politics”, nor is it about a view within politics that I see as “right” or “wrong”. I also want to be clear that I am not thinking about the stage orientation of either group as actually representing “the Right” or “the Left”. Instead, I am using the two-sided staging of the ensembles to pay homage to what I see as the fundamental core of a democratic society: conversation and the sharing of ideas that equally influence one another, ultimately growing toward a unified whole. Perhaps this is naively idealistic at best, but for me, this exchange of ideas is the cornerstone of our society and is that we should continually strive for and try to maintain. To this aim, From Either Side of the Table progresses with each ensemble presenting stretches of music that the other group responds to in some way: sometimes picking up the idea, sometimes steering it somewhere new. As the piece goes on, these back-and-forth moments get shorter and shorter, eventually arriving at a unified, full-stage ensemble. The piece is structured with a refrain and several subsections that each share a common form and move through an underlying cyclical key-scheme throughout. The motivic elements of these sections are passed between the ensembles and eventually come together along with the ensembles themselves. Some of the musical ideas that are presented along the way end up being combined within phrases, some get overlapped and layered, and some get left on the table. In the end, it’s the growth through the two groups’ conversation that carries the piece forward, and as I see it, is my hope for us all. -JDC


Premiered at the 2024 Washington, D.C. International Music Festival by Arrowhead Union High School Wind Ensemble directed by Jacob Polancich & Lexington High School Wind Ensemble directed by Jared L. Cassedy

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Weight 0.1 lbs
Dimensions .004 × 11 × 17 in

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