Shadows of the Infinite (2008)
Instrumentation: Piccolo, 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, English Horn, 2 Clarinets in Bb, Bass Clarinet in Bb, 2 Bassoons, Contrabassoon, 4 French Horns, 3 Trumpets in C, 2 Trombones, Bass Trombone, Tuba, Timpani, Bass Drum, Large Suspended Cymbal, Triangle, Marimba, Bowed Crotales, Crotales, Tubular Bells, Cymbals, Large Tam-Tam, Piano, Harp, Strings
Duration: ca. 12 min.
Premiere: 9/27/2008, Friedberg Hall, Peabody Conservatory; Peabody Symphony Orchestra, Ruben Capriles, conductor
Various ideas of texture, color, timbre, and structure for an orchestral work had been swirling around in my head starting early in 2007, but it was not until December of the same year that I actually began work on it.
The opening of the work starts with a strong downbeat, which acts as a trigger to a bright, metallic texture consisting of string harmonics, winds, and bowed crotales. These strong downbeats continue periodically with what could be heard as aftershocks following their initial attacks. At the same time, the trumpets gradually introduce a three note rising motive, from which the work gathers much of its motivic material and development. The piece then takes these basic elements seamlessly through a series of timbres, colors, and emotions with the overall sense being that of majesty, awe, and mystery.
The idea of "Infinite" is vastly incomprehensible. No beginning. No end. Eternal past. Eternal future. Forever. Never-ending. No matter how hard you or I try, we simply cannot wrap our minds around this thought. Even when we gaze upward through our telescopes there is a limit to how far away things out there are, and so we can somewhat understand…but infinite, this is beyond us.
"The infinite-personal, triune God is there, and…is not silent."*
Majesty. Awe. Mystery.
*Schaeffer, Francis. He is There and He is Not Silent, a part of Francis A. Schaeffer Trilogy. Wheaton: Crossway Books/Good News Publishers, 1990. Pg. 290
Macht Orchestral Composition Competition Award, 2008
Minnesota Orchestra Composer's Institute Selection, 2009
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