Stillaset Brandt (“the Scaffold Burned”) is the final piece of The Stillas Cycle, a collection of three independent compositions all based on the Norwegian novel Stillaset, by Pedr Solis. On its surface, this obscure novel tells the tale of a single protagonist as he navigates a seemingly infinitely large edifice. Ultimately though it can be viewed as a commentary on the interaction between two readings of Modernism: the subjective and the objective. Both are seen as existing simultaneously in any work, creating an essential tension while offering a method of navigation fundamental to its understanding. The use of myth is a primary element in this dialectic, both representative of a shared reference and providing an outlet for primal internal drives. The rational and the irrational, the orderly and the chaotic, the mediated and the unmediated - each of these oppositions is directly at play in the narrative.
Of the three pieces in the cycle, Stillaset Brandt relates most directly with the content of the novel. It roughly follows the same trajectory as the book – sterile order is intruded upon by a chaotic element of irrationality which eventually eats away at the structure, returning it to its primary state, one which encompasses both order and disorder in a constantly shifting balance. The piece initially follows a rigid harmonic progression, the same as in Stillas (for brass quintet and percussion), the first piece of the larger cycle. External forces soon begin to eat away at this purity, eventually reducing it to a seething mass of plasma.