A high-energy, post-mimalist piece written for the PRISM Saxophone Quartet, Hammering Away (at the Great Unknown) is a tour de force for four saxophones. It was commissioned by The Walden School in 2005.
Hammering Away (at the Great Unknown) attacks one chord structure. Listen for canons, chains of suspensions, inversion, augmentation, and other fun compositional devices before the counterpoint falls apart and we hear the melodic version of the structure played in rhythmic unison in four different transpositions simultaneously for a long time and loudly. The saxophones hammer at the chord, and use it to hammer away at bigger issues that inevitably come up when concentrating on something specific. Ultimately, this piece is about the futility of concentrating on one thing; it is only through diversifying our efforts that we say something truly profound.
— Caroline Mallonée
Includes score and parts.