While many contemporary compositions responding to traumatic events do so by loudly conveying open anguish, Worthington takes a different approach. This is quiet music, though hardly gentle. Fragments of descending chromatic scales, played eerily with glissando effects or tremolo backing, convey the image of pieces of glass falling through the air. Strings play slowly oscillating harmonies or disappear entirely, leaving winds, very soft brass chords, and mallet percussion to carry the music.
The overall effect of Shredding Glass is one of awe and sorrow, well expressed by one critic as “an undercurrent of unresolved apprehension.” It conveys both unease and the composer’s desire for catharsis. It’s an interesting piece, and it stood strongly apart from the rest of the evening’s program.