In Parterre transformation works as an almost psychedelic fantasy. In the composition Childs juggles a kaleidoscopic assortment of musical colors that are presented as layer upon layer of energized pulsations. These colors later develop and mutate with a wonderfully rich and warm sense of expansion. Childs creates a world where we feel anything could happen?a truly universal world that's primordial in its understanding of humanity. She would like her listeners to get completely involved in the music and lose themselves. Her aim is to write music that ?satisfies people but also which surprises them . . . not a huge surprise that shocks people, but something that is just not what they expected at all. Kilter has the two pianists working out cooperative ventures and independent exercises: their voices may entwine like the laces of a cat's cradle; or they may line up, play off one another, part company altogether. They seem to have decided, in this democratic world of two, to allow for disagreement and embrace it. Chaotic experience isn't the dark side of order, something to be suppressed. To know order is to know and embrace its opposite. And to blur the distinction between the two. The Capacity of Calm Endurance, a meditation on the rewards and pains of patience (the title is one of the dictionary definitions), was written for pianist Anthony de Mare. They appear to be solo pieces, but the world of Mary Ellen Childs is a little like Wonderland: solo instruments are protean, acting out many roles at once. But her ensemble work Parterre, is a unicycle?eccentric, colorful, full of surprises and an ironic sense of balance, though in the end making its way as one. A "parterre" is an ornamental, patterned garden. I can picture Alice wandering through this one, exploring both its sunny and foreboding regions. If she remembers where she is, she'll also remember that one can't exist without the other.