The genesis of Homeland Security Suite started with my composition of Orange Alert for solo timpani. At the time, the country was actually at ?Orange Alert? and I was amazed that a color normally associated with suchhappy and positive images represented such a state of heightened anxiet y. After it was published by HoneyRock, I thought it might be interesting to set all of the colors represented in the Homeland Security AdvisorySystem: Green, Blue, Yellow, Orange and Red. It?s ironic that until 9/1 1, 2001 the vast majority of Americans weren?t even aware that an advisory system existed, let alone what all the colors meant. A number of questions came to mind. Was America ever at the lowest level, Green Alert? What was the symbolism embodied in a system of terror that uses the colors of the rainbow as its visual representation? How could I take these visceral images and transfer them to an art form based not on color, but sound, and create an arc over a sustained period of time that didn?t feeloverly repetitive? To begin, I chose a more abstract rhythmical and har monic style and a wide variety of instrumentation. Within each movement I embedded a number of more literal musical ?signposts.? For example, toward the end of Green Alert I used the steel drum to capture the sense of joy and freedom that a lack of threat might engender - the tempo ironically marked ?Don?t Worry, Be Happy.? In Blue Alert I included a number of musical fragments referencing New York. After I completed all five levels I decided to add an epilogue in the form of a new level: White Alert ? white being the color of light that embodies all others and yet appears without any. Whatever political statement I?ve attempted to embody in this work can best be understood by reflecting on my setting of this last, and truly final, movement.
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