Nickitas Demos

Chasing Time



  • 1
    1. Time To Chase Time (excerpt)
  • 2
    2. One Hundred Seconds Of Solitude (excerpt)
  • 3
    3. Cycle Accelerando (excerpt)
  • 4
    4. Moment Of Clarity (excerpt)
  • 5
    5. The Fruit Of My Procrastination (excerpt)

Chasing Time (2013)

Nickitas Demos

I. Time To Chase Time - score preview

II. One Hundred Seconds Of Solitude - score preview

III. Cycle Accelerando - score preview

IV. Moment Of Clarity - score preview

V. The Fruit Of My Procrastination - score preview

Duration: 14'

Commissioned by the Perimeter Flutes

The title of this work, Chasing Time, has two meanings for me. First, it refers to the composer’s greatest ally and greatest enemy: the deadline. Most of my music is written on commission, this work being a good example. It was commissioned by the outstanding Atlanta-based flute quartet, Perimeter Flutes. Every commission brings with it the necessity for me to “chase” down the time necessary to compose and complete the piece by its due date. Second, the title also refers to my belief that composers do not merely work with sounds, but also work with time itself. I must not only chase down the time to write, but I must chase down the notes and chase time itself within the borders of the composition. Beyond these two broad meanings, each of the five brief movements furthermore explores a specific aspect of time. 

The first movement, Time To Chase Time, concerns itself with the very beginning of my creative process; the moment I sit in front of empty music manuscript and realize that it is now time to again chase time. The music divides the members of the quartet into two duos that continually “chase” each other throughout the brief confines of the movement. The second movement, One Hundred Seconds of Solitude, takes its title and inspiration from an article of the same name written by Alex Mar and posted March 8, 2013 on the online version of the New York Times Sunday Book Review section. The article addresses the vanishing opportunities for utter solitude in our society. Solitude, divorced completely from the incessant distractions of email, the web and social media, is very difficult to obtain and, furthermore, to sustain. The music in this movement begins with a serene, solitary voice that tries to maintain a sense of solitude throughout despite being constantly interrupted by outside distractions given voice by the piccolo at first and later by the second flute. Finally, unable to resist, this voice succumbs to temptation and embraces the distraction. The third movement, Cycle Accelerando, attempts to portray how time seems to speed up the older we get in age. Birthdays, anniversaries and holidays seem to roll around faster and faster each year. The movement therefore presents a simple melodic idea that continually repeats itself at faster and faster rates of speed throughout. The fourth and most dissonant movement, Moment Of Clarity, grapples with the unattainable desire to hold on to a perfect moment in time. The music begins with a simple gesture that continuously restarts in a vain attempt to hold on to the moment. The gesture is constantly undulating, adding voices and building upon itself in frustration until a moment of clarity is reached when all voices land on a unison pitch. However, because we can never hold time still, the moment is fleeting and soon fades away to be followed by a brief restatement of the opening, less solid, musical gesture. The final movement, The Fruit Of My Procrastination, is a virtuosic and energetic finale to the work. It is meant to capture the almost manic energy put into writing a piece – especially as it draws near its completion and my due date fast approaches.