David “Clay” Mettens (b.1990) is currently a masters composition student at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. A native of Covington, KY, he completed his undergraduate studies at the University of South Carolina with a degree in music composition and a clarinet performance certificate. He has been a recipient of the McNair Scholarship; 2012 John and Lucretia Herr Composition Award (USC); the 2012 Cantey Award for Excellence; the 2013 Arthur M. Fraser Award, and the 2013 LeDare Robinson Undergraduate Award for Academic Excellence.
Clay has studied composition with John Fitz Rogers and Fang Man, Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, David Liptak, Robert Morris, Robert Aldridge, David Dzubay and Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, and computer music with Allan Schindler. His orchestra piece “Sleeping I am carried…” was the winner of Eastman’s 2014 Wayne Brewster Barlow Composition Prize, and received a premiere with the Eastman School Symphony Orchestra in October 2014. He was a finalist for the 2011, 2013, and 2014 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Awards and a regional finalist for the 2012 SCI/ASCAP Student Commission Competition. He has attended the Brevard Music Center and New Music on the Point Chamber Music Festival.Performances include the Elon University Wind Ensemble; Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music; numerous ensembles and computer music at Eastman including the Eastman Philharmonia Chamber Orchestra, the Eastman Wind Orchestra; the Brevard Sinfonia; and the USC Wind Ensemble.
David Mettens – Sleeping I am carried… (excerpt)
“Sleeping I am carried…” is based on a melodic fragment from Alban Berg’s Mombert setting “Schlafend trägt man mich,” Op. 2, no. 2. I scatter references to this melody throughout, but perhaps most noticeable is the poetic connection between Mombert’s imagery and the atmosphere and form of my piece. In a dream, Mombert’s speaker traverses a great distance to return home, passing over a landscape whose rough outlines and blurry forms appear only in peripheral vision. My piece transports the listener through a hazy sonic landscape of overlapping musical ideas. One idea emerges and comes into focus, only to disappear again, as another comes to the fore. Wispy lines in the strings and flutes wind around each other, and rumbles ascend from the depths of the orchestra. In a moment of clarity near the end, Berg’s vocal line appears complete as the bass line of a radiant chorale. This subsides, and the piece comes to rest on an extended melody in the strings, concluding with a final evaporation of the dream world.