Full Faith and Credit was inspired by the economic crisis that struck in 2008. Well before the crisis actually hit, I had become obsessed with the unsustainable nature of our economy, and with the huge housing bubble and endless sea of debt that seemed to be engulfing everything. When it all came crashing down, writing Full Faith was one way I sought to deal with it. The work is not literally programmatic – there is no Debt Leitmotif or Goldman Sachs Chord – but it is inspired by the general mood of foreboding that I felt as the crisis unfolded, and the sense of a seemingly orderly, yet ultimately corrupt and unsustainable system collapsing into chaos.
The musical language of the work draws heavily on post-minimalist and vernacular styles, but combines these with free, improvisatory gestures, and a dramatic narrative structure. The rigid underlying grid becomes bent and distorted by the improvisatory elements, and the work gets increasingly chaotic as it goes, until a set of complex cross- rhythms culminates in six thunderously dissonant, brutal piano chords, followed by an airy, evaporating coda. Full Faith and Credit was commissioned by the Adorno Ensemble and premiered in April 2009 at San Francisco State University.