Stillness left from empty husks
for flute + clarinet in Bb + horn in F
Commissioned by the 2017 Woodwind Trio Consortium
v3n Trio, lead commissioners
Duration: ca. 10'00"
Stillness left from empty husks evolved from the idea of creating a multi-movement and multi-character work that straddles the line between what is familiar and what is alien. The title of the piece comes from a short poem, and much of the textural, gestural, and narrative aspects of the work draw from the imagery the title evokes. This concept focuses on stillness vs. unrest, micro- and macro-level memory, and extended sounds utilized in a programmatic fashion.
Throughout the work, different movements evoke both musical and non-musical ideas. Movement II (lattice) is my effort to depict a lattice musically in the most literal way - intersecting lines that come together and fall apart over the course of the movement. Movements I (prelude), II (cadence), and V (coda) are all named for traditionally musical ideas - prelude and coda bookend the work. cadence follows no real cadential rules, but my goal with the movement is to create the feeling of a constantly “ending” musical gesture.
Of particular note, the fourth movement (accordion) was inspired by a moment in the novel Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Japanese author Haruki Murakami, where an accordion plays a pivotal role in the narrative:
“No melody comes, but it is enough to bring the wind in the sounds to her. I have only to give myself to the wind as the birds do.
No, I cannot relinquish my mind.
At times my mind grows heavy and dark; at other times it soars high and sees forever. By the sound of this tiny accordion, my mind is transported great distances.”
It was my goal in Movement IV to capture the spirit of this passage, and also create music that mimics the physical gesture of an accordion.
The creation of this work was supported by the members of the 2017 Woodwind Trio Consortium.
Murakami, H. (2010). Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World (A. Birnbaum, Trans.). London: Vintage.