Composed while in residence at Copland House, Cortlandt Manor, NY
Reading by the Minnesota Orchestra, March 13, 2002
American Composers Orchestra Whitaker Reading Sessions, April 15, 2002
Premiered February 6, 2003, New England Conservatory Philharmonia
This work began while I was reading Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin (tr. Nabokov), which has passages of great intimacy and vulnerability, sections where the storyteller addresses the reader directly and hints at sorrows of his own, before going back to the story at hand. One of these passages (see epigraph) struck a powerful chord in me. In this passage the narrator unaccountably leaves his protagonist, as if interrupted by his own memory, to muse on his own experience as an exile. We don’t know who this narrator is, or why his personal history contains such sorrows, but he occasionally gives us a window into his own humanity, and these are moments of disarming and unexpected intimacy. This passage gave rise to four separate pieces, each bearing the title of one of the active verbs – Roam, Wait, Beckon, and Start. Together these four pieces form the half-concert-length work The Right Weather.

There is such beauty and even strength in the part of us that stubbornly will not move on. When I read this Pushkin excerpt, which I see as a meditation on the narrator’s own internal exile, I felt I had found a whole emotional world that could guide me through an extended musical journey. This journey begins with the restless sound world of Roam. I was aware of a roiling impatience underlying a deceptively calm, passive scene: the view from a remote cliff, overlooking an unpropitious sea.

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