One Day In One Hour (1D1H) is a brilliant example of electro-acoustic contemporary program music that includes found-sound and sound effects as part of the compositional process. Its thirteen movements take us through one day in the life of a modern day office worker.
Each hour of the day is compressed into ca. two and a half minutes of music.
The first sounds heard consist of the main melodic theme appearing in long augmented tones. This theme will recur throughout 1D1H. Sometimes it will appear in its entirety, at times as a fragment, at others inverted (upside-down). It can also be stated in retrograde form (backward) and altered into variations. It appears in its entirety as the hummed shower ditty in the third movement (Bathroom).
1.Dreamscape is the most abstract movement. It introduces melodic, sound and story themes. For example, the sound of footsteps on gravel is an important recurring element. Another is the concept of ‘exit’. It will return at different points of 1D1H and have different meanings as its context changes.
Dreamscape proceeds seamlessly into 2. Alarm, wherein the sleeper awakens.
3.Bathroom. This movement features the melodic theme stated simply and directly.
4.Breakfast Is a lovely movement that floats on a melody (taken from a thematic fragment) in 3/4 meter against an accompaniment in 4/4 meter. It has a sunny, happy floating feeling reminiscent of 1960’s TV advertising
5.Commute AM finds the main character driving to work.
6.Work AM. He has parked his car and begins to climb the stairwell to his office. It is a Monday. He walks through corridors eventually entering the office area. He slams his office door. He types for a while until summoned to meet with upper management. A passacaglia constructed from a thematic fragment begins as he makes his journey to the boardroom. As he is blamed for something, the music becomes polyrhythmic. More menace is introduced. There follows an episode of exit/escape as he imagines himself transported to someplace less stressful. The passacaglia is interrupted during this section only to return intensified as he attempts to avoid contact with the CEO. He manages to sneak out of the building for lunch.
7.Lunch. Here the rhythmic structure is opposite that of Breakfast. The accompaniment is in 3/4 meter and the melody is in 4/4. Melodic glissandi and rhythmic shifts in the accompaniment suggest too many martinis drunk in an attempt to take the edge off the stress of the morning.
8.Work PM. The central character returns to work. He manages to weave and float through most of the afternoon as motifs from Work AM attempt to intrude into his blissful alcoholic haze. The end of the workday finds him depleted and depressed as he navigates the stairwell to his car.
9.Commute PM is a slow, protracted event. Thematic material from Commute AM is reintroduced.
10. Dinner. The central character arrives home, opens his mail and begins preparing dinner. The melodic material appearing here is based on the counter melody heard in Breakfast.
11. TV. An evening spent watching, snacking and dozing.
13. Bed. Here the main character finds he still has the resilience to laugh as he reads himself to sleep. This movement ends with a reprise of the beginning of Dreamscape. The last sounds heard are the main theme played by the bass accompanied by footsteps in gravel.
On program music:
Many contemporary listeners, especially those who have grown up with minimal exposure to western classical music, have had little contact with the concept of program music. The term ‘program’ is believed to have first been used by Liszt to describe music attempting to communicate extra-musical ideas such as a poem or a story. There are many examples of program music that pre-date Liszt however. From text painting in madrigals, to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, to Beethoven’s 6th and the works of Berlioz, many composers have engaged in this kind of musical story telling.
This work was begun in a spirit of fun and adventure. It is the composer’s hope that you the listener can experience it in the same light-hearted manner
Stan Cherry 2010