World Premiere, Moments for orchestra, this Saturday, April 27 at Longy School of Music
I attended my first Marathon in person 14 years ago as a freshman at Boston College, and, inspired by the sentiment of that perfect spring day, joined one of my roommates in trotting the final five miles of the route that evening, from the BC Main Gate to the finish line. I have so many fond memories of that and all the subsequent years in celebrating such a wonderfully “uniquely-Boston” holiday, from preparing the annual Marathon Breakfast for all my friends when living along the route, to receiving calls from friends of mine when I was living in Iowa for three years (the only three years of the Marathon that I missed since high school), to being with Erin for her first Marathon experience when we ran outside her Brighton apartment in Cleveland Circle half a block to Beacon Street to watch the leaders race by.
Given what happened last week, I’ve witnessed both how strong this Boston community has responded to such a tragic turn of events, as well as how much support our community still requires. Over the past four years, I’ve frequently emphasized, in the process of asking for your support to my nonprofit, The Boston New Music Initiative, that there are a great many additional worthy causes out there that also need support in order to continue fulfilling their missions. I was served no greater reminder of that than this week. I encourage everyone to please consider making a donation to the One Fund to help those affected by last week’s events.
This Saturday, April 27, BNMI will be performing our final concert of our fourth season, which includes the world premiere performance of Moments, my newest work for chamber orchestra. Moments was completed last month and was written for BNMI specifically for this week’s premiere performance. The work is derived from an earlier work, A Few Moments Later (2011) for the Bay Colony Brass. The original work was not intended to carry any particular programmatic association, but with a deadline of September 11, 2011, I found it impossible to avoid all connotations with such a date when constructing the piece. While the music is absolute, dictated by the sonata-like form rather than any underlying story, I spent much of the earlier stages of composing the work contemplating the idea of heroism. The result is a “heroic” melody that permeates throughout the work in various iterations and sets of pitch material. To reflect the new instrumentation, Moments features expanded and new themes from the original work for brass choir: additional “moments” of reflection on the ideas of the original piece.
It is poignant, and an incredibly sad coincidence, that this new performance comes in the midst of another tragic event. The title of the original work (and, subsequently, the new work) is inspired by a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer.” In following the horrible events of last week in Boston, I was once again inspired by all the heroes who, unafraid, immediately sprang into action to help their fellow men and women. We may never know all of their stories, but we are certain of their bravery.
This piece is humbly dedicated to the brave citizens of the Boston community and all those affected by last week’s events. #BostonStrong.
Update 4/15/2014: Here is the performance from last year’s premiere.