Duration: 12 minutes
Commissioned by Music In The Loft and the PianoForte Foundation
The last piece of music I wrote as a graduate composition student was a piano trio entitled Fractures of Elysium. Completed in June of 2003, the piece went on to receive two performances that same summer, one at the Norfolk Contemporary Music Workshop in Norfolk, CT, and the other at the Wellesley Composers Conference in Wellesley, MA--each of which would represent the last two summer fellowship programs I would attend as a student participant. That work exhibited features that had been a hallmark of my voice, coalescing over the previous several years: blistering tempi, percussive rhythmic stabs and accents, abundant meter changes, and a thorny, extended tertian harmonic palette relieved at times by an unapologetic tonal lyricism (my history as a singer was never too far away). The lyrical moments--the glimpses of “Elysium” scattered throughout--were fractured by the terser, rawer, energetic textures. The opposing sections were proportionally set apart from one another by units of time derived from the Fibonacci sequence, resulting in an exponential acceleration and expansion of the Elysian, tonal moments.
The current work, Elysium Remembered, is my homage to that older piece, and what the time of its conception meant to me both professionally and personally. Like its older predecessor, Elysium Remembered features two principal opposing textures: metric asymmetry, brisk tempi, vigorous, percussive gestures and gentle placidity. The alternation between sections accelerates exponentially toward its broad, lyrical latter-half, but not through the Fibonacci sequence. Rather, respective sectional lengths are taken from the proportionality of relative amplitudes of the harmonic partials on an open A cello string. The distances between opposing forces squeezes into a culminating arrival, finally melting into its own, dramatic Elysium.
Premiered by the Lincoln Trio on June 5, 2015