Espresso was the first work I wrote in New York City. It was written in a tiny studio just big enough for an upright piano, a chair, a desk, and an espresso machine – the bare necessities for a composer (Beethoven drank seventeen cups a day). This dark, short, concentrated shot of a piece is concerned with the development of a flitting, whirring motive first played by a pair of clarinets and then expanding out in both directions, always in instrumental pairs. A climax is reached, and after a brass interruption, a set of colorful, mercurial variations follow. The work ends with a calm coda of weightless whispers…an aftertaste, faintly recalling flavors just experienced.
Espresso was awarded the second bi-annual ASCAP/CBDNA Frederick Fennell Prize in the fall of 2004 and was premiered at Carnegie Hall at the CBDNA National Conference by Rutgers Wind Ensemble.