“I roam above the sea,
I wait for the right weather,
I beckon to the sails of ships.
Under the cope of storms, with waves disputing,
On the free crossway of the sea
When shall I start on my free course?”
--Aleksandr Pushkin, Eugene Onegin (tr. Vladimir Nabokov)
This work originated while I was reading Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin, 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. The above passage, which struck a powerful chord in me,
prompted me to imagine four separate pieces, for four different instrumentations, each bearing the title of one of the active verbs – Roam, Wait, Beckon, and Start. I felt I had found an emotional world that could guide me through an extended musical journey, and this is the journey I wanted to share with the listener in The Right Weather.
In the Red Square, near the Pushkin Museum in St. Petersburg, a microtonal carillon pierces the cold air every hour. These bells are refracted in the Prologue. The sound world of Roam is restless. I was aware of a roiling impatience underlying a deceptively calm, passive scene: the view from a remote cliff, overlooking an unpropitious sea.
The same tenacious musical material appears in Wait, only now in a dialogue between the soloist and an orchestral drone. When Andrew Armstrong first encountered Wait, he wrote to me, “the drone lets the piano music have its impetuous, child-like way. It lets the piano protest, wonder, love, regret - all those
messy things human beings do in between our two eternal silences.”
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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