The inspiration for “Old Seven Mile” comes from a series of recurring dreams my father had as a young man after the death of his mother when he was sixteen. In the first dream, he was situated on an empty, familiar white beach. In the second dream, he was standing on the same beach, but a hazy bridge would appear far away on the water. As the years passed, the similar dream kept returning, but the bridge became closer and closer until my father was eventually on the bridge, but it was rusty and full with holes. To my father, the idea of this bridge relates to coping with ideas of grief over time. His description of the dream reminded me of the Seven Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys, which is the longest continuous bridge over open water. Next to the newer bridge is a bridge built in 1935, which still stands. It is a rusty, abandoned bridge, full of holes and gaps, similar to the bridge in my father’s dream.
The work conveys the idea of the approaching bridge with the idea of a broad theme that is ghosted in the beginning in the trumpets and low oboe but which comes to be fully developed by the end. The initial energetic, frantically spread-out music suggests the uncertainty, anxiety, and pain of grief, and the incessant polyrhythmic pounding of the waves on the shore in the dream. The bridge (or the “theme” music) suggests a place of awkward solitude, incomplete and full of holes, but still a rich new experience, perhaps in a somewhat enlightened state. By the end, the nervous, angular energy of the beginning returns, informed by this new, longer thematic material.
American Composers Orchestra (ACO) is dedicated to the creation, celebration, performance, and promotion of orchestral music by American composers. With commitment to diversity, disruption and discovery, ACO produces concerts, pre-college and college education programs, and emerging composer professional development to foster a community of creators, audience, performers, collaborators, and funders.
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