Atmium (2011)

Pierrot quintet
Duration: approx. 14 min

Performed by Ohio Wesleyan University students

Program Note:

Atmium is a musical representation of three of the six elements known as the Noble Gases, named for their stable atomic composition. The first movement, ‘Helium,’ depicts the element of the same name through its non-scientific associations. The images of balloons and children’s birthday parties are evoked through the work’s light and bubbly textures, as well as through playful ornamentation. This bright, innocent feeling is maintained through the entire movement until the very end, when the music floats away. The subsequent movement is a placid and subdued reflection upon the inert properties of Argon. ‘Neon,’ the final movement, is fast and driving, with electric propulsion that portrays the excitement of Neon signs. A short middle section calms down the momentum to reflect upon the beauty of warmly glowing light in the dark. However, the drive picks right back up, and the irregular metric feel eventually pushes the music forward into a final climax.

Atmium was a finalist for the 2012 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards.