the earth flows away from the shore where I stand (premiere, 7-5-18)




for B-flat Clarinet, C Trumpet, and Piano. Premiered at the Oregon Bach Festival's Composers Symposium on July 5, 2018 with Kevin Leomo (clarinet), Adam Junk (trumpet), and Jacob Lee (piano). Two things were most important to me while writing this piece. The first thing was developing the form. The form is what I call "crystalline," at least in the sense that small motifs and ideas are played with and seem, for the most part, random and inconsequential, until their "formation" into the central "theme" of the piece. I developed this method in an attempt to "harmonize" contemporary compositional techniques with more "traditional" ones. I do not think it is fair to talk of a dichotomy in this piece, a conflict between the opening "pointilism" and the closing chorale, but, really, only of a continual "becoming." They are not really two, but, in fact, one. The second thing I was concerned with was the rhythm of the piece. I wanted it to ebb and flow quite freely and loosely, without any sense of metrical change, even though the metrical movement is quite irregular. The listener is not supposed to feel the 4/4 bars moving to 3/4 bars. What the listener should feel and sense, I hope, is a kind of suspension, a looseness, a freedom of time. In this sense, the meters are not strict, but only suggestions in achieving this effect. It is in reference to this second point where the title of my work's purpose is found. It is worth noting, however, that I did not title the piece until after it was already written, as I did not want my initial creative impetus to be polluted by any other source. The title of this piece comes from what was, perhaps, Czesław Miłosz' favorite of his own poems, Three Winters. What inspired me about the words was not only the rhythm of them, but the rhythm of the ocean which was implied in them. I saw reflected in them, and their imagery, the ebb and the flow and the sadness of my own music, and the quality of these words helped greatly in the editing process of this piece, in unifying my creative vision and product.