Timelapse Variations is a musical reflection on the time-lapse technique in film. I have always been fascinated by how change and growth are perceived in time-lapse videos. Visuals are sped up, but the overall effect feels almost glacial—the film becomes a reflection on transition, a meditation on the passage of time itself. In this way, Timelapse Variations offers a sweeping soundscape, with several sections, all incorporating a variety of processes of gradual change.
Pulsing repetitions, glissando strings, and fragmented melodies are threaded throughout the entire duration of Timelapse Variations. Individual pulses offer an analogue to the individual frames used in time-lapse films. Music builds in intensity through dynamics and orchestral layering. Dense sections are juxtaposed with softer sections, with the soft music offering a reduced, stripped-down reflection on what was heard previously. About halfway through the piece, the fragmented melodies expand and become threaded together into counterpoint. The counterpoint eventually coalesces into an extended unison melody in the flute and the second violin, peaking on a stratospheric G. Churning processes continue after this point until finally there is a gradual stripping away of the layers. By the end of the piece we hear pulses traded back and forth between the clarinet and the flute. The flute ends the piece with a breathy attack on C, leaving the listener in silence.
The piece is scored for:
clarinet, bass clarinet
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Natalie Draper is a composer based in Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Her music has been programmed by several festivals, symposiums, and conferences, including GAMMA-UT, MusicX, SEAMUS, the Charles E. Gamper Festival of Contemporary Music, and the Tanglewood Music Center. She has worked with a variety of ensembles and performers--recent collaborations have involved the LUNAR ensemble, the Omnibus Ensemble, Symphony Number One, Baltimore's Occasional Symphony, and Strathmore Artist-in-Residence Kimberly Kong. Her compositions have received prizes and recognition, including Second Prize in Peabody's Virginia Carty deLillo competition and First Prize in the Prix d’Été competition. Draper has been a resident at the Ucross Foundation and was a composition fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center in 2015. She is a theory and composition instructor at Levine Music, a community music school in Washington, D.C. Draper is currently pursuing her doctoral degree, studying composition with Oscar Bettison at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University.
For more information, visit nataliedraper.net.
Timelapse Variations was featured by NASA in a story that reached most major global news outlets. Watch the video: