To See the Stars Again for Orchestra (2013)


Piccolo, 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, English Horn, 2 Clarinets in Bb, Bass Clarinet in Bb, 2 Bassoons, Contrabassoon, 4 Horns in F, 3 Trumpets in C, 2 Trombones, Bass Trombone, Tuba, Timpani, Percussion (3 Players), Harp, and Strings.

Recorded by the NEC Philharmonia with Earl Lee conducting on December 13, 2013.

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Program Note:

Writing this piece turned out to be a struggle worthy of its subject matter. I began amassing material for the work in the summer of 2012 at the Atlantic Music Festival. As I continued working, the piece underwent many transformations over the next year and a half, until it finally coalesced into this current form.

It is often my goal to portray a spiritual journey in my music, which turned out to be the case with this work. The story is one of a soul's revolt, its ensuing struggle to reconcile with the forces that brought it to that extreme, and ultimately its search for redemption. This soul is represented in the music by the melody line of the opening string chorale. Over the course of the piece, this motive takes on many emotional colors – from peaceful to uncertain, raging to joyous. Although the emotional scope of this motive is vast, the actual melodic cell usually remains unchanged; rather, it is the context surrounding this motive that is constantly in flux. Intermingled are other ideas that play supporting roles along the course of this soul's journey.

Technically speaking, I perceive the piece as a dialogue of alternating theme groups. In the outer sections, this is expressed by two complimentary chorales, while the central section takes on a much more interruptive approach. It is this central section, through these competing theme areas, that represents the soul's revolt, its struggle and desperate searching. The final section, although mostly optimistic, ends with a question – as if the piece is not over, but could continue on ad infinitum in the way our own minds are constantly wandering and searching for a perfect truth.