Black Mamba

Instrumentation: chamber orchestra

Year: 2011

Duration: 9 minutes

Program Note:
The black mamba is one of the most dangerous creatures in southwest Africa with a neurotoxin capable of killing humans in less than an hour.  Despite its mythology, the mamba is a relatively docile creature who shies away from confrontation.  The mamba will typically flee from predators using its incredible speed (up to 14 miles per hour making it the fastest land snake).  However when provoked, it is highly aggressive and will repeatedly strike its prey with a series of lightning quick attacks.  When I set out to write this piece, I was interested in writing something that was both aggressive and mercurial, a piece that would change at any instant but always maintain a sense of unease and propulsion.  While this piece is not inspired directly by the black mamba, it is the qualities of the creature that are reflected in the music.  Black Mamba is a piece for chamber orchestra and was written for Dan Welcher and the University of Texas New Music Ensemble.