In July 1947 near Roswell, New Mexico, a rancher heard a loud explosion and discovered strange metal scraps in the desert. Responding to national newspaper reports of this "UFO crash," government agencies quickly converged on the wreckage site and confiscated the evidence. The "incident at Roswell" resonates in the popular imagination because to this day the government file remains top secret. What happened to those scattered metal scraps? They resonate on the concert stage, as the percussionist plays on xylophone and eight pieces of unidentified metal.
-- Michael Daugherty
When I began working on this movement I asked myself: What kind of metal objects might one see at an alien crash site? I searched for metal objects with unique timbres, sometimes combining sounds, in order to build alien wreckage pieces. Thanks to metal plates, car parts, coils, and cymbals, my ensemble of metal sounds adds a unique timbre to solo xylophone.
Fast tempos, complex rhythms, and the polyrhythmic drive created between the xylophone and piano take the listener to a world outside of our own. Daugherty cleverly exchanges between more stable and less stable sections in order to create a sense of unknown quite contrary to the first movement. This interchange of stability plays an active role in our lives. We all experience stable and unstable moments, that’s what makes life so interesting. The future is unknown, but we do what we can now in order to make the most of it. As an upcoming graduate, I face the unknown of “what next”? I rely on my abilities as a musician and as a person to help shape my future. The stability of my preparation has helped guide me through the instability of the future. And with that, I look forward to the unknown!