[The potato] begins its life at its most coherent, losing its shape and substance with the growth of its sprouts. The sprouts will, of course, become other potato plants, but, seen from the point of view of the potato, they are agents of death and decay. A piece based on the life of the potato, such as my composition, ''spud,'' might begin with the coherence of all musical voices and move towards their independence, much in the way that a series of variations might bear successively less resemblance to their theme.
I wrote this piece in memory of someone close to me, who died. Like many other composers before me, I looked to the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice for some ideas of how to deal with it. I think one of the reasons that composers like this myth is because Orpheus is a great musician, trying to use his powers to thwart death, and to regain his love. He marches into the underworld and, through the power of his song, is almost successful in bringing Eurydice out with him. As she follows him out of the underworld he is instructed not to look back at her, but at the last moment he hears her stumble. He turns, sees her, and loses her. That moment is so powerful - it contains both the joy of seeing her again and the horror of losing her, forever. At that moment there is strange equilibrium between hope and loss that I tried to capture in my piece. Orpheus first loses Eurydice above ground, regains her below ground, and loses her finally when crossing the horizon, where over and under meet.