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Menagerie of Insect Societies

I. Formicidae, the Colonial SoldiersJason Brauer
00:00 / 05:08
IV. Cicadoidea, the Menacing SwarmJason Brauer
00:00 / 04:02

Instrumentation

String quartet
10 minutes

Duration

2023

Year of composition

Program Note

Menagerie of Insect Societies examines the fascinating (and at times oppressive) ways that insects (and humans) organize their social structures.

Formicidae (ants) are the only animals besides humans to go to war by the thousands. They can also efficiently explore an area through emergent behavior, or a set of simple instructions for each ant that result in a complex pattern for the whole. Reflecting the rigidity of their hierarchy, their movement is a military march in sonata form based on the chromatic scale. After their final battle, a mortally wounded ant cries for peace.

Cicadoidea (cicadas) emerge from their underground burrows in massive broods every 13 or 17 years, singing their cacophonous mating call, before

vanishing as quickly as they arrived. This movement roughly mimics their call and the motion of their broods in flight, depicting the homogeneity of their society via the octatonic scale and many moments of rhythmic unison and close canons.

I. Formicidae, the Colonial Soldiers

II. Lonchodidae, the Mechanical Marvels

III. Papillonoidea, the Lonely Socialites

IV. Cicadoidea, the Menacing Swarm

V. Lampyridae, the Phase Synchronizers

VI. Aeshnidae, the Mighty Hunters

Performance History

Movement Menagerie of Insect Societies was premiered by The Rhythm Method at NYU Paulson Center on Sunday, April 28, 2024.

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