for clarinet, violin, cello and piano

Written: 2002
Duration: 10'
Instrumentation: clarinet, violin, cello and piano
Written for the Eberli Ensemble while in-residence at the Atlantic Center for The Arts
World Premiere: Cornell Contemporary Chamber Players, Cornell University, Barnes Hall, Ithaca, NY, September 10, 2000.
Other Notable Performances: Eberli Ensemble, SCI 2001 National Conference
PublisherBill Holab Music

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Much of American culture revolves around making things lighter. Cars and planes are constantly re-engineered to be made lighter and more aerodynamic, people diet to lighten themselves (with diet foods that are often “lite”), CD Walkmans and running shoes are continuously re-designed to be lighter and less inhibiting, etc. People are also always figuring out ways of artificially lighting areas that are naturally dark, whether with fires, candles, overhead lights or flashlights.

Ironically, many composers such as Liszt and Wagner have tried to make music heavier, denser, and thicker. Of course, some composers have also tried to make music that sounds light and airy, such as many of the French composers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In this work, I try to take dark-sounding elements and make them sound lighter, whether though reflections, echoes, range, articulation, or especially dynamics.

My original inspiration for this work is the way in which skylights naturally light up a dark room. Most of this music was written at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, where it was an amazing surprise to find out that many of the buildings are lit by skylights. One particular building at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, the Hubbard Music Studio, provided inspiration for the majestic beginning. The walls in this very tall space rise up to a ceiling that is basically a huge skylight.

There are a few similarities between this work and another work I wrote called Star Crossing, such as repeated note ostinati, low, isolated bass notes in the piano and dense chords played staccatissimo. In both works, I try to represent light through sound.