Jon Jeffrey Grier (b.1953) Attitudes (2009)
Having been for many years a teacher of teenagers and the parent of a couple more, I have tried here to capture three of the many quintessential states of the teenage psyche. In quieter moments — i.e., when not having to deal with them — I find these things amusing. It is remarkable that we can survive our teenage years and those of our children. These pieces should be rendered with the sort of wry good humour that is most possible later on, looking back at those awkward episodes.
I. Flirty: Rendered helpless by enormous changes in their chemistry, they are relentlessly drawn to their opposites in ways that pretty much guarantee humiliation. Anticipations of dreamy romance alternate with moments of tentative approach and sheer panic. This movement is a
hodgepodge of whole tone, chromatic, and almost-major elements in a compact sonata form. About 3:04.
II. Pouty: A dark state in which the victim can be withdrawn and sulky, argumentative, or explosive, shifting rapidly from one condition to another. A posture of “Go ahead, just try and cheer me up…” prevails. The melodic material of this movement is borrowed equally from the 1st
and 3rd movements. About 3:10.
III. Ansty: Squirmy and impatient — for dinner to be ready, for the weekend to come, or to finish school and move out. Progress toward the next Big Thing never seems to move fast enough, likely owing to some vast conspiracy. This movement is comprised of two basic elements: motoric stereo effects, with the players exchanging bits of scale or other melodic pattern, and fugato sections of melodic material bearing some modest resemblance to melody of the 1st movement. About 3:50.
Premiere: rarescale 10th Anniversary Composition Competition Final, Amaryllis Fleming Concert
Hall, Royal College of Music, London, 27th September 2013
rarescale: Carla Rees and Lisa Nelsen, alto flutes
Duration: 10’00” approx.