Bruegel is a four movement composition inspired by the paintings and engravings of Flemish artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1525-1569). It is scored for Bass Clarinet in Bb, Electric Guitar, One Percussionist (Glockenspiel, Woodblock, Snare, Kick Drum, and Brake Drums), Piano and String Quartet. Each movement explores a painting or engraving from Bruegel’s catalog of works and attempts to embody each piece of art through the use of certain compositional techniques.
The Cripples (Movement I) explores layered rhythms and disjunct melodic fragments which play on the idea of Bruegel’s painting of crippled men trampling over each other and stumbling. Small moments of balance are found throughout only to be lost. Patience (Movement II) is based on an early engraving of Bruegel, which depicts a lone woman who represents a virtue, in this case patience, surrounded by sin and vices. Juxtaposed textures are presented with patience eventually finding itself victorious to temptation. Children’s Games (Movement III) explores a painting which depicts a large number of children playing a plethora of different games. The movement uses graphic notation and plays with the idea of games to create a compositional “game” for the ensemble. Big Fish Eat Little Fish (Movement IV) depicts a large fish eating several smaller fish. A process is introduced which plays on the idea of increasing density and lasts for the bulk of the movement.