Duration: 6 minutes
Winner of the 2002 JacobDruckman Prize for Orchestral Music at the Aspen Music Festival.
Night Prayers Ascending originally existed as a two-minute piano piece composed in response to an assignment given by my composition teacher at Boston University, Theodore Antoniou. That piece began as a study of symmetries and mirroring, as the opening chord's outer notes either expand or contract in equally opposite directions. The ultimate symmetry is realized as the central note of A-flat in the beginning of the work evolves to become D at the end--forming a tritone, the interval that bisects the 12 tone chromatic scale exactly into half.
The present version for orchestra, became much more than a study of intervals. Painful dissonances, a contrastingly gritty and lush sonic landscape, and episodic melodic narratives began to represent a journey of laborious introspection and soul searching. Like one who recognizes the failure of humanity to adequately resolve crises of a spiritual nature, the protagonist in this work lights the incense and hopes desperately the his heart-wrought prayer reaches the heavens.
Concert Premiere: June, 2001 by the CCM Philharmonia, Mark Gibson conducting. The recording here features the Aspen Concert Orchestra, with Alisdaire Neale conducting.