I SEE YOU
for string orchestra and recording
Duration: ca. 11'
Instrumentation: string orchestra and recording
World Premiere: American Modern Ensemble, Del Sol String Quartet, JACK Quartet and PubliQuartet, Delta David Gier, conductor, SubCulture, New York, NY, January 15, 2015.
Publisher: Bill Holab Music
I See You is inspired by a week I spent at my father's side in a hospital. Having never spent much time in hospitals, I was unaccustomed to hearing the myriad of sounds, particularly in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), where my father lay incapacitated, in critical condition. It was incredibly sad: I could see him, but because he was so sedated, he was barely aware I was even in the room with him. Despite this, there was something strangely soothing and almost musical about the constant pattern of beeps and noises emanating from the machines. To pass the time, I would imagine an orchestra playing, with the litany of noises as accompaniment.
I See You consists of three connected sections. The first section entitled Tranquillo is calm and soothing, almost like a lullaby, with long melodic lines. The second, entitled Sturn und drang (“storm and stress”) is more rhythmic and stressful, incorporating a cacophony of ICU sounds. The final section, entitled Return, is more like the first, perhaps a bit darker, but with rays of optimism toward the end. Throughout the entire work, I incorporate sounds one might hear in an ICU, manipulated and mixed with recordings of heartbeats, breathing and the sounds of children playing. The piece ends with the overlapping patterns of my own heartbeat, my father’s heartbeat, and my son’s heartbeat, and even my son's heartbeat when he was in my wife's womb, creating an intimate, multi-generational, rhythmic tapestry.