Passage, Part I, was composed in 1983 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Boston-based ensemble COLLAGE. The first performance, conducted by Gunther Schuller, took place in Boston in April, a few days after the score was completed.
Passage I deals with vernacular elements, with utterly familiar musical material. A small collection of ordinary harmonies is set in motion in a manner reminiscent of American popular music of years ago. The harmonic web is surmounted and penetrated by strands and patches of melodic stuff, none of it really self-sufficient or substantial, but all of it conventional. It might not be misleading to compare Passage with an ostensibly bland street scene by Edward Hopper or an "American Flag" by Jasper Johns.
Passage I was conceived as the opening movement in a series of movements. As it stands, Passage I runs just under 10 minutes.