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Step Inside

Flute and Marimba

Score sample

Click on the score page above to access a more in-depth score preview (where available). 

Step Inside

Step Inside is a fantasia on the work of French street artist Julien Malland, a.k.a. “Seth GlobePainter.” In his work, Malland (or “Seth”) creates images of young people gazing, stepping, or diving into surreal fields of color and imaginary (sometimes horrifying) creatures. The sprawling murals can take up a city block or the face of a building. Seth’s work combines childlike innocence and playfulness with a surrealist sensibility inherited from the likes of Dali and Braque; however, the viewer encounters it not in a manicured art gallery, but on the streets of their city. The harmony he achieves with these elements is like no other artistic work I’ve ever seen.

I hesitate to say that Step Inside is a narration of the experience of Seth’s viewers, or his characters, or even the artist himself. The piece was inspired by imagining the experience of one of Seth’s subjects “stepping inside” his colorful otherworlds; but as I composed, visualizing their emotions of excitement and curiosity (and maybe a bit of fear), they began to feel universally resonant. In a way, we “step inside” a similarly alien realm whenever we listen to a new piece, read a new book, visit a new place. We unlock new worlds by revealing our true selves to friends or strangers; we perceive the chimerical nature of the unknown in experiencing anything for the first time. In my own life, every morning’s act of sitting down at the writing desk is a leap into new worlds which may inspire, intimidate, bore, or even destroy. The very act of composing is an act of stepping inside.

So, Step Inside might be an attempt to capture all of these elements and the cartoonish, fantastical quality that defines Seth’s work. The music could be said to reflect the realm of the imagination, so beautifully represented in these paintings. It could also be said to portray the realm of reality: perhaps a pair of street musicians, playing rhythmic and improvisatory music on a corner near a GlobePainter mural. Or it could just be a musical journey through the real and imagined experience of the new: the moments of uncertainty and temptation, the sense of danger, and the tense breath before finally summoning courage and taking the first step.

Step Inside is also available in a version for flute and marimba. 

Score and Parts (either version): $35

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